Since 1978, the Pickaway County Family YMCA has been the heart of swimming in Pickaway County. Communities such as Circleville and Ashville have seen their public pools close over the years, most recently with the closure of Ted Lewis in 2016, but the local YMCA has remained a reliable option. Located at 440 Nicholas Drive in Circleville, the YMCA branch offers swimming lessons for ages five and up. Also, the branch has a swim team known as the Piranhas that competes regularly at swim meets.
With the recent success of U.S. Olympic swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, there has been a nationwide increase of the interest in competitive swimming. According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), swimming is one of the most participated in sports in the country with more than 300,000 boys and girls participating throughout the United States and more than 12,500 students in Ohio. This is in spite of many schools not having a pool of their own. Organizations such as the YMCA have made it possible for schools to host practices and meets at their facilities. In fact, the Pickaway County YMCA is the home pool for all four county swim teams.
One of the beneficiaries of the YMCA’s existence is Teays Valley’s swim tea. They have been able qualify several athletes for Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) District meets as well as have swimmers go on to compete at the collegiate level. According to Teays Valley’s Swim Coach Michelle Hamilton, it’s not just a facility that the YMCA is providing. Over half of Teays Valley’s swimmers have participated in a YMCA swim team program at some point. She went on to say, “Learning to swim is much easier at a young age than waiting until high school. Swimming is a much more challenging sport than most people realize. The achieved cardiovascular endurance requires time and consistent effort. The technical aspect is important as well.” By hosting lessons and a swim team, the Pickaway County YMCA is setting up the county programs for success.
In addition to athletic skills built by the YMCA programs, they also promote safety. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), drowning fatalities is among the top five reasons for unintentional injury deaths. The CDC has also found that basic swimming skills developed in formal training reduces this risk. For these reasons, Coach Hamilton recommends that parents take advantage of the YMCA’s swimming education. She went on to say, “The ability to swim is a lifelong skill that can serve an individual well. Swimming is a wonderfully social, rewarding and difficult sport. Hanging out at the pool is a great way for youth of any age to spend time together.”
So, this summer whether you and your family are going to spend the weekend at Deer Creek, play in your backyard pool, or are just looking for something fun to do, consider participating in one of YMCA’s swimming programs. It could be the starts of an athletic opportunity for a child or even save their life.
You can visit www.ymcacolumbus.org/pickaway to find details about any type of programming, the swim team or the details of membership to the Pickaway County Family YMCA. Additional information on Teays Valley’s swim team can be found at www.tvswimteam.com.
Photos courtesy of Penlin Place, www.penlinplace.com.