Tiffin Community YMCA offers a number of programs to provide a healthy lifestyle; swimming is considered a sport one can do for life.
Each year, the Y offers a swim program where kids age 8 to high school come together for the YMCA swim team. The season lasts September through March.
This year, there are 32 kids on the swim team. They meet five days a week and train by doing what is called dry land conditioning for 20 minutes and then they get in the pool for two hours.
PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY
Coach Tori Harris teaches the swim team the importance of having long, deep strokes.
Each night, there is a different focus.
Saturday, the YMCA will be holding the swim team's Tiffin Invitational at 9 a.m.; 315 teams will be competing for first- through third-place trophies.
"It is a fun day. With there only being five lanes at the Y, there could be up to six kids in a lane. So. they have to have good listening skills and learn to follow direction," said swim coach Tori Harris.
Harris said the team supports the Y's core values of caring, honesty, responsibility and respect, as well as the importance of setting and meeting long-term goals.
Participants come from various backgrounds and bring different personalities. Some have disabilities.
"Everyone can interact and work as a team. The kids treat each other as a family," Harris said. "Most do not do other sports, so this is their sport."
Swimming is not all the Y instills in team members, she said.
"We want to teach the kids to bring responsibility to the pool and their dedication," Harris said. "We work with the kids with training and exercise and the importance of eating more nutritional meals and learning how to feed the body right."
Team member Hayden Cook said the program is a lot of exercise, but it gives her the ability to take charge and push to become better. It also enables her to be on a better diet.
For Ryan Outland, this is his first year on the team.
"You get a great workout, and it helps me stay true to what I am doing. Training is hard and not very fun, but you do get good things out of it," Outland said.
The team also has parental and community support, including a variety of local sponsors and food donations.
Barry Porter, co-chairman of the team's parents club, has two children on the team. The club helps with fundraising, provides the kids with spirit nights and also helps to provide materials the team will need.
"We like to give the kids an extra incentive," Porter said. "The kids learn about discipline, dedication and the importance of having a strong work ethic."
Sixth-year member Julia Tiell said she enjoys the Y's coaching techniques.
"The coaches look at us individually to focus on what we are doing wrong," Tiell said. "It promotes a healthier lifestyle at the same time (and) we get to meet new people and new friends. I am close to the coaches; the team is like my second family."