Maddox Evans (left) and Utah Coleman are among the youngsters who are participating in the Union County YMCA swimming program this summer. (Journal-Tribune photos by Tim Miller)
The reopening of the Union County Family YMCA earlier this summer permitted a popular program to move forward.
The YMCA’s swimming program has been conducting afternoon practices for youngsters ages 10 U and 11 and over. There are 32 youth participating in the activity.
The program is under the direction of YMCA swim instructor Craig Faircloth.
“This was our fifth week of conditioning and technique drills,” said Faircloth, who has also served as Marysville High School’s head coach.
Another phase of the program began Tuesday and is slated to run through Sept. 3.
“We’re going to have three skills classes going on during our second session,” said Faircloth. “We just want to give swimmers the opportunity to improve their skills.”
The current session is also focusing on aerobic and anaerobic (which breaks down glucose in the body without using oxygen) exercises, Faircloth said.
Many of the youngsters involved in the YMCA’s program are also members of the Marysville Stingrays team that operates out of the city swimming pool.
The coronavirus did not permit the Stingrays to compete against teams from other communities this summer.
Instead, the squad held intrasquad competitions for several weeks.
“We wanted to do this (YMCA) program as a way to give youngsters in the community something positive to do in the midst of COVID-19,” said Faircloth. “We want them to continue with their physical training and improve on their stroke skills for the various swim meet events.”
Faircloth said youngsters in Union County are at somewhat of an advantage over those from other areas.
“A lot of community pools never opened this summer because of the virus,” he said. “Our groups are a blend between the Stingrays, a couple of Marysville High School swimmers and some from other areas.”
The program is being conducted within coronavirus guidelines.
A total of seven of the YMCA pool’s eight lanes are used and only two swimmers may be in any given lane at one time for drills.
“We’re using the guidelines that we have received from our YMCA executive director (Trevor Secord) and also USA Swimming and health officials,” said Faircloth. “We have two swimmers at each end of the lanes we are using. There is a stopping point for each one in the middle of the lane.
“That helps us maintain social distancing.”
Swimmers are to use face masks and maintain social distancing when not in the pool.
Faircloth uses a mask and/or face shield when interacting with athletes.
The coach said the sessions not only promote swimming skills and conditioning, but are also seen as a healthy emotional and mental release for youngsters.
“This is a great outlet for these kids this summer,” said Faircloth. “It gives them something physical to do, instead of just sitting around watching TV or playing video games.
“This is a good thing and I’m hoping we can continue with it.”
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