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Gators training camp starts soon

The Suffolk Family YMCA and Karen Johnston, the YMCA’s aquatics director, offer swimming lessons for swimmers of all ages and abilities year round.

Starting on April 26 though, Johnston’s got something unique, especially designed for kids looking to be competitive and get faster in the pool.

The Suffolk Family YMCA’s swim team, the Gators, are holding a Swim Team Training Camp for returning team members and any new recruits who are interested in joining the team. Actually, says Johnston, “anybody interested in our swim team or any team around the community, they’re more than welcome to sign up for our training camp.”

“If a child wants to join a swim team, but maybe they feel they’re not prepared for a team, this will be an excellent way to prepare,” Johnston said.

The camp will run Mondays through Thursdays from April 26 to May 20, leading right into the Gators’ summer season.

Swimmers will receive instruction from a coach with 35 years of experience. Students will learn racing skills, breathing mechanics, stroke techniques, efficient kicks, diving starts and turns.

“We will be evaluating strokes. In meets, you can be disqualified for an improper stroke. The camp will be very comprehensive,” Johnston said.

Those fancy turns swimmers do at each end of the pool, they’ll be part of what’s taught.

“We’ll spend time on the correct skills for racing, efficient starts and turns. Good turns shave seconds off for a swimmer,” Johnston said. “It’s designed to be very intense, to push a swimmer’s endurance and strength, but it’ll be a lot of fun, too.”

There will be a beginner group, from 5:30-6:15 p.m. each day; and an advanced session from 6:15-7:30 p.m. each day. The only prerequisite for the beginner group is the swimmer must be able to swim 25 meters.

“We’ll develop more from there. We’ll introduce other strokes and we’ll help improve their performance,” Johnston said.

The Gators are a year-around team competing against other clubs from around Hampton Roads. Johnston said, if a new swimmer is unsure about joining the Gators for the summer, a good idea might be coming out for the training camp, continuing to practice over the summer and joining the Gators for the fall season.

The registration fee for the Swim Team Training Camp is $60. The Gators also have Swim Team Boost Week, an intensive training program designed to perfect swimming techniques and improve strength and conditioning for the fall season.

Boost Week is from Aug. 23-26 and the regular fee is $40. Swimmers wanting to register for both can do so for $80, a $20 savings.