LY swimmer Ainsley Reed will be graduating from Jefferson Forest High School the first of June. Ainsley parlayed her swim career at the YMCA into admission in the fall to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she will swim with the Wilmington Seahawks. Ainsley was recently featured in the News and Advance as the AA High School Female Swimmer of the Year, along with LY teammate, junior Blake Nowakowski, as the Male Swimmer of the Year. Congratulations!
As school is coming to an end, LY is in the midst of transitioning from competition in short course pools (25 yards long – the USAS and college standard as there are 25 yard pools all over the country) to competition in long course pools (50 meters long, like the pool the Olympics is held in as around the world, meters is the standard of measurement). At this time of year we might move swimmers from one group to another, as was the case with a quartet of 11-12 year old boys that we recently moved from training at the Jamerson to training with the older swimmers at the downtown Y. Coach TJ reported that pretty quickly, 3 of the 4 boys learned to use their hands as squirt guns, and any time they were resting at the wall, those 3 would start pressing water through their palms into each other’s faces, across the lane line into their teammates' faces, and naturally into the face of the 4th boy who couldn’t quite seem to get the hang of squeezing the water into an effective stream. After watching this for several days, finally during warm up one day, TJ motioned to the 4th boy to get out of the pool. He said that Brandon hopped out and walked over, hanging his head, sure that he was in trouble.
“Brandon, about squirting the water …”
Before he could finish, Brandon quickly spoke up, “It wasn’t me! I wasn’t squirting water! I don’t even know HOW to squirt the water!”
“Brandon, I know. Here’s the thing, you are capturing the water between your hands, but the first motion you make after that is to pull your palms apart before you squeeze. You are letting all the water escape before you can press it through your hands....”
TJ spent a few minutes with Brandon explaining to him how to keep the water between his hands and squeeze so that he, too, could squirt water. Sometimes it turns out that the lessons at the pool are just about ensuring a balance of power in the water so that everyone can enjoy the fun of play mixed in to the hard work of training.
Meanwhile, as summer approaches, several of our older swimmers will be helping out at pools around the city as lifeguards. TJ recently received this email from the Altavista Y about two of our swimmers who are taking the Red Cross lifeguarding class there:
I am writing to let you know about Anne Meinke and Caeley McMillan. They were excellent students, they were prepared, practiced hard and learned the skills to be great guards. I know that they missed Sat AM practice for this (they worried about it) and I thought you would want to know they were excellent students and one Saturday stayed behind and swam a practice set while I cleaned up the “class room.” Because you allowed them to take this class and they worked so hard, the pool where these two young ladies will work will be a safer pool for everyone. They had excellent team work skills and you can take the credit for that.
We've already enjoyed the first long course meet of the season in Christiansburg the first weekend of May. Ben Bauserman, JC Gordon, Brian Grimmett, Katie Jones, JT Lotz, and Lexi Plogger got their first experience in 50 meter competition. Colby Childress picked up the 11-12 IM Tough award with his first ever 400 IM swim. Ashley Sennett, John-Michael Gordon, Kyle Sennett, Madison Sitton, Cameron St. Clair, Chandler St. Clair, Emmie Summy, Casey Wrabley, Daniel Pettyjohn, Evan Navarro, Joshua Bodine, and Kelsey Childress all had personal best times in EVERY event they swam! LY parents helped with timing and officiating, as usual, and a great time was had by all ... in the words of Cameron St. Clair, "It is kind of like we are on vacation."
And so, another month has rolled by at LY and we have much to be grateful for and proud of. We have swimmers at all stages of young life – graduating high school and heading to college, getting their first jobs, or just learning how to defend themselves in the water battle in the pool.
We’re looking forward to an open water swim in Charleston Harbor at the end of this month, and hope the weather is soon warm enough for us to begin our training in the 50 meter pool outside at Miller Park.