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zegmal
June 3rd, 2008, 10:17 AM
Dear posters--

My boys swim on a YMCA swim team. Unfortunately the aquatics director is a clueless fool who is hostile to youth swimming. We have a great coach, but the team's ability to grow is severely handicapped because the aquatics director will only allow three lanes in the afternoon for the team. Apparently the Y has a policy to always keep lanes open for lap swimmers. Worse, the YMCA in the neighboring town had to shut down their pool, which left over a hundred boys and girls with no place to swim. Believe it or not, my YMCA (which is independent of Y national) refused to expand its team to accommodate these kids. I am working on a letter to the board of my YMCA asking them to change their policy. I'd like to bring up points related to:

--the benefits of youth swimming
--what's unique about youth swimming compared to other sports
--why a small team (25) diminishes the team experience (relays, etc.)
--any other thoughts

The whole situation is ridiculous and hopefully we can make a persuasive case to the board to change its policy. Thanks so much.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, my Y does not have any organized masters swimming program.

pwolf66
June 3rd, 2008, 10:26 AM
I will think on this a bit and give you a more detailed response but this article may help you.

http://www.mcsl.org/SplashMayJune2007SummerSwimming.pdf

Paul

aquageek
June 3rd, 2008, 10:27 AM
I have to say you are in a very tough situation. The Y's insistence to always keep a couple of lanes open is a problem nationwide for youth swimming. It takes a very persistent group of members to battle the forces of the seniors who will raise holy hell morning, noon and night about losing two lanes for 2 hours a day for 6 weeks.

What you should do is gather information from Ys that do work to accomodate their youth teams. If you PM me, I can help out here.

This is an uphill battle you have on your hands and a primary reason I left the Y for swimming. It's gets too complicated and political when all you really want to do is swim.

blainesapprentice
June 3rd, 2008, 10:39 AM
this might not be a strong point...but one that has annoyed me in the past when I was working at a YMCA and trying to formulate a masters team there...and ran into the same problems: YMCA does not have rules against provide full-time accessibility to some of their other areas of the center...for instance...they are always using the entire gym for basketball tournaments, volleyball classes, etc...I don't see how that is any different then giving more lanes of the pool for a short time (2 hours at the most?) for a youth development program such as a swim team.

notsofast
June 3rd, 2008, 11:26 AM
I swim in the afternoon, so I think it's good to at least have one lane for lap swimmers then. But I don't know the situation you have. Maybe there are only 1-2 lap swimmers, so closing off lanes, would be easy. There's probably room for some creative thinking on this one.
Anyhow, to make your case, I'd try to estimate how much revenue the Y would receive from the additional team swimmers. That helps the Y manager understand he is foregoing revenue. (The lap swimmers generate no additional revenue, as their swim privileges are built into the general membership fee.) More swim team revenue means smaller increases in membership fees, and that's a fact the manager can use to sell the loss of pool time to the membership.
Short term, there will have to be some shared pain it sounds like. Long term, if you build up your swim team revenue, you can launch a capital drive to put in another pool. That's what happened at my Y. Now we have a small, warm pool for aerobics and a larger one for tournaments and lap swimming.

Glider
June 3rd, 2008, 01:17 PM
This will vary greatly among Ys, depending on how the facilities were funded. You may not need to look any further than the entity that funded the majority of the pool construction.

In the case of my Y, it was a local hospital that was the major donor and has their name prominently displayed on the pool walls and conducts therapy "sessions" there.

So, while it isn't any different for the Gym, the time and space allotment may have been "negotiated" differently.


this might not be a strong point...but one that has annoyed me in the past when I was working at a YMCA and trying to formulate a masters team there...and ran into the same problems: YMCA does not have rules against provide full-time accessibility to some of their other areas of the center...for instance...they are always using the entire gym for basketball tournaments, volleyball classes, etc...I don't see how that is any different then giving more lanes of the pool for a short time (2 hours at the most?) for a youth development program such as a swim team.

anita
June 3rd, 2008, 02:10 PM
--the benefits of youth swimming
--what's unique about youth swimming compared to other sports
--why a small team (25) diminishes the team experience (relays, etc.)
--any other thoughts
.

The benefits of youth swimming is obvious--growing obesity of our youth and general population. You can spout off some good numbers and percentages there. Keeps 'em clean and not smelling like sweaty teenagers, too :joker:

What is unique about swimming is that it offers kids a way to keep in shape, form friendships, perhaps travel, get involved in a high school sport (if offered), without having to join other sports which may have physical contact or other demands which they find uncomfortable. Relately low cost is always an added plus.

The sport is also easily transferrable to summer lifeguard positions and swimming instructors, which can come back to benefit the Y.

Our large team was nice because you always had fast kids coming up the ranks, as well as faster/older mentors who were there for you to "wow" over when they received scholarships in swimming to colleges, or won CIF titles year after year. There were kids at every level which kept the team alive and thriving. The team I grew up on is still thriving, 25 years after I quit at 18--a good 35 years.

Good luck with this undertaking. People who didn't grow up with swimming or don't understand the benefit of swimming sometimes just don't "get it", though, and changing their mind can be difficult.

aquageek
June 3rd, 2008, 02:40 PM
Relately low cost is always an added plus.

I would wholeheartedly agree with all your point with the major exception of this one. Good god, swimming is about to break our bank. Swimming is one of those sneaky expensive sports. Death by 1K cuts, for sure.

LindsayNB
June 3rd, 2008, 04:47 PM
Anyhow, to make your case, I'd try to estimate how much revenue the Y would receive from the additional team swimmers. That helps the Y manager understand he is foregoing revenue. (The lap swimmers generate no additional revenue, as their swim privileges are built into the general membership fee.)

I know that if I bought a membership thinking there would always be a lane open for lap swimming and the manager told me that they had rented out the pool to a swim team because I had already paid and the swim team was new revenue I would be upset and this would have an impact on membership renewal rates.

Swimming pools are little like gyms in that the operator would far rather have 500 members that use the facilities occasionally than 100 members that use it for hours every day. Lap swimmers typically pay far far more per hour of actual time in the pool than the club swimmers.

anita
June 3rd, 2008, 09:59 PM
I would wholeheartedly agree with all your point with the major exception of this one. Good god, swimming is about to break our bank. Swimming is one of those sneaky expensive sports. Death by 1K cuts, for sure.

Things have changed that much since I was a kid? In what way is it expensive? My son plays travel ice hockey, so anything seems tame comparitively.

waves101
June 4th, 2008, 08:44 AM
A Pro for youth swimming:
Recent studies have shown that sports mechanics learned at age 6 or earlier can be recalled (thru muscle memory) later in life. Even if that person has not participated in the sport since 6 or earlier and takes it up as a teen or young adult, the body recalls the motion and allows for greater advancement than someone who takes up the sport/activity at a later age (having never domne it before). Sorry I can't quote any specific sources but I'm sure they could be googled.

aquageek
June 4th, 2008, 09:24 AM
Things have changed that much since I was a kid? In what way is it expensive? My son plays travel ice hockey, so anything seems tame comparitively.

I have no idea how old you are so maybe you were a kid just a few years ago. Travel is travel, no matter the sport, so that's comparable across sports. If you are on a small team, your travel will be more to get to meets. Big clubs have more local meets, a serious advantage on cost.

If you have a 12+ kid, you have the required tech suit. Then, there's the requisite gear, meet mandated clothing, practice suits, etc. Of course, there's the $20/week for lost goggles (my all time pet peeve). There's the meet fees and club dues. There is also the "undetermined" 20%, which I cannot explain.

Having said this, it's 100% worth it. I assume that hockey, or any travel sport, is similar to swimming in that you develop good friends with like-minded people.

At least with swimming the kids come home clean.

anita
June 4th, 2008, 01:07 PM
At least with swimming the kids come home clean.

Ain't that the truth.
The tech suit expense is new for me (I swam competively from '72-'84). A season of ice hockey ranges from $7-10,000 (including travel costs) at the level my son is playing. We are in San Diego so travel is a necessity. That amount, by the way, is what other parents tell me they spend. My husband and I prefer to not add up the expenses. We just fork over the cash and keep our heads in the ground.

The benefits are the same regarding team bonding, friendships, life lessons, etc. Except as far as I know, swimmers don't brawl in the middle of the pool.

Regardless of the cost, it really is fun to watch your kid enjoy a sport (or any event, really), that s/he has fun at and has a passion for.

aquageek
June 4th, 2008, 01:32 PM
Since you live in San Diego I cannot take any sort of pity upon you.

ALM
June 4th, 2008, 02:19 PM
Of course, there's the $20/week for lost goggles (my all time pet peeve).

Dear Geek,

Thank you for subsidizing my goggle supply. I assume I can also thank you for my swim cap supply and my water bottle supply. I acquire all of them by picking up what the kids leave on deck.

I used to feel guilty about it until one day when I saw one of the guards collecting it all and throwing it in the trash. Now I think of it as "freecycling".

AL

tjrpatt
June 4th, 2008, 06:49 PM
Swimming in my youth has kept me from being the fat mess that I could have been.

orca1946
June 4th, 2008, 09:45 PM
Any swim will do them good in the future so as to build a background of doing something!!