learn to swim to compete in tillsonburg
Swimmers of all abilities are invited to try a new swimming program in tillsonburg.
The first session for the learn to Compete swim team program will run september 19 to december 14 at the tillsonburg Community Centre Kinsmen pool, kicked off sept. 12 and 14 with ‘trial swims’ to show the swimmers what it will be like.
“If they want to join, they can register after that,” said tillsonburg ’s Joni maerten-sanders.
Swimmers will practice tuesday and thursdays, based on three age groups (5-5:45 p.m. for 6-9 year olds... 5-6 p.m. for 8-12 year olds... and 4:30-6 for 12-and-older).
Swimmers with intellectual and physical abilities are encouraged to try the new program.
“We will be teaching competitive skills, with the goal of eventually developing a program again for the town,” said Joni maerten-sanders, who initially approached the town in the summer about starting a para program in the fall, one day per week, geared to kids with intellectual/physical disabilities.
“They came back and asked if i would like to start a ‘learn to Compete swim team’ program.”
Maerten-sanders, who continues as coach of the Wilmot aces in new hamburg, said the aces have a competitive swim team and successful ‘house league’ program, comparable to the hockey model.
“In a way you’re always fighting another sport to gain people. people who say ‘i’m not going to take my kids to competitive swim because it’s a lot of practice time, it’s a lot of this, a lot of that,’ will say, ‘oh wait, you have a house league program? swim twice a week, one meet/competition per month... perfect.’”
The structure from Wilmot’s house league program will be applied in tillsonburg.
Competitions will be in the aqua 7 league.
“Develop the skills, get kids interested. if there’s a desire, and it usually takes two-three years of swimming if you’re new to the sport to develop the skills to be very competitive, then there are opportunities there for it,” said maerten-sanders, who will continue Wilmot’s competitive program in Woodstock through the 2017-18 season, and beyond if the demand is there. “there’s a lot of work to do to rebuild a team. We can also start teaching the parents how to build their program again.
We can start developing toward that so that if someone wanted to start a team again, that is there for them.”
The learn to Compete swim team will be affiliated with the Wilmot aces, but will only draw from the tillsonburg area.
“If we have swimmers who want to swim more, then they register with our Woodstock or Wilmot programs... for now. the goal is to eventually have another competitive program here.
“We’d like to host one of the meets in tillsonburg. they have great blocks and it’s a decent facility for it.”
Maerten-sanders and swim coach Kris sanders contacted nearby summer programs in delhi and otterville to let them know about the new tillsonburg program.
“It helps that Zach (sanders) is coaching the otterville team,” maerten-sanders smiled.
It’s a win-win situation for the town, said maerten-sanders.
“It’s good for the town getting more kids in the water. like i said to Julie (dawley), ‘yes, i’d like to see kids go to the national level and become stars, but i also want kids to swim to have fun... swim to become lifeguards... swim to do synchro... swim to do whatever.’ that’s what i’m all about.”
The first session for the new Learn to Compete Swim Team program at the Tillsonburg Community Centre runs September 19 to December 14. It began Sept. 12, and tomorrow Thursday, Sept. 14 with 'trial swims' to show the swimmers - ages 6-9, 8-12 and 12-and-older - what it will be like. For more information contact Joni at firstname.lastname@example.org.