April 27, 2009

Yale Swim New Haven: Swim Lessons for the Community

April 27, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale swimming and diving teams offered free swim lessons to local youths this spring. In a new community outreach initiative named Yale Swim New Haven, the teams partnered with the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center (DYCLC) to teach 30 kids in its after-school program. Members of both the men's and women's teams returned from spring break to coach four one-hour lessons on Saturdays throughout their off-season.

The initiative was organized by sophomores Ileana Lucos and Annie Killian.

"We both had come up with the idea, and then we talked about it and decided we should try to make it happen," said Lucos. "We thought it would be a good project for the team."

The sophomores worked with Jordan Skolnick, the Athletic Department's Director of Community Outreach, and Dwight Hall to find kids to invite to the lessons.

"Swim lessons can be expensive, so we wanted to target kids who might not have the opportunity to take them," explained Killian. "Dixwell was a perfect match because it's close to the pool and already had an organized group."

The head of the program at DYCLC, Jeffie Frazier, greeted the idea of swim lessons with enthusiasm. After their Saturday meetings, she walked the kids over to the pool to meet their coaches for lessons.

"The lessons were fun. We had about two kids per coach, so they got plenty of individual attention," said Killian. "The kids came in with different levels of experience. Some of them could already swim pretty well. But the goal was, by the end, to have everyone in the water and floating on their own. In that I believe we were successful. And the team had fun too."

To celebrate the end of Yale Swim New Haven, team members accompanied the Dixwell group to the Athletic Department's Spring Youth Day before returning to the pool for their last lesson on Saturday, Apr. 25.

Report by Erica Kao '12

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