Wildcat Swimmers Help Youth Adjust to the Water
Members of the Davidson swimming team often spend early-morning hours training and honing their craft. To trim time, they put in significant time, and that just becomes part of the routine for high-level competitive swimmers.
Day by day, lap by lap, they get better.
Their path to competitive swimming, though, began with getting comfortable in the water as children, and it was those memories, and a collective desire to give back, that inspired more than a dozen Wildcats to help young children from the Ada Jenkins Center get acclimated to the water this spring.
The Wildcats worked with about 20 of them at the Lake Norman YMCA.
“Our main goal was to get kids acquainted with basic water safety techniques,” said senior freestyler Matt Bode. “For those with limited experience around pools, that involved things as simple as the best way to enter and exit the water from the side of the pool.”
Other young swimmers worked on such things as treading water and floating without the aid of a noodle or kickboard, while the more experienced children were shown freestyle and backstroke techniques.
“The experience was less about teaching how to swim and more about water safety and comfort, which is arguably more important,” said senior freestyler Lauren Crane. “I realized a lot of these kids are not super comfortable in the water, or don’t know how to get out of a pool, or are scared to put their face or head in the water.”
The Wildcats worked on changing that. They made the process fun and taught lessons through in-water games and with smiles on their faces.
“It was really nice to get out of the high-pressure mindset and see a tangible reminder of how fun swimming can be,” said Bode. “It brought me back to the days of summer league swimming and made me think of all the bigger kids on the team my friends and I looked up to. We didn’t look up to them because they were fast; we just loved being in the water around these big kids and felt cool whenever we got to play around with them. Through these lessons, I hope the team members were able to be those big kids for the Ada Jenkins kids. I think everyone deserves to experience that type of joy as a child.”
The Wildcats hope to make the partnership an ongoing one.