Young people from all over the Cedar Valley area gather at “The W” three times a week for swimming lessons coached by Wartburg students.
About half of the swimmers compete on summer swim teams, and some compete on school swim teams as well.
Each swimmer writes out their individual goals at the beginning of the year, so at the end of the year they can reflect back and see if they have managed to achieve them.
“We come together and we form two goals as a whole entire swim club, so their goals this year were to improve individually and have fun,” head swim coach Timmery Foster said.
“They also wanted to become the future Michael Phelps.”
The practices are split into three different groups according to ages to avoid younger children having to practice with others who are more advanced.
While the main aim of the club is to improve on the swimmer’s performances, they also look to have as much fun as possible.
The improvement extends to the coaches too.
These Wartburg students find themselves in leadership situations where they are looked up to as role-models, and this realization presented a joyful challenge for Foster.
“If I’m going to make them swim a 300, I should probably be able to swim a 300 myself,” Fosters said.
The coaches like to form personal relationships with the swimmers to keep things fun, and the swimmers enjoy this aspect of the coaching.
Lily Schwickerath, 11, from Wopsy, has been swimming since the beginning of last summer, and joined Foster’s team a year ago.
“I like her,” Schwickerath said.
When asked if she was only saying that because Foster was in the room, she laughed.
“No, I like her. She pushes us, even if we’re tired, she pushes us.”
Schwickerath is one of 46 swimmers in the club, and said that when she started she was barely able to swim 200 meters, but now she feels confident that she is able to complete it.
But the fun is not just for the swimmers, as the coaches enjoy it just as much.
Foster is the head coach, however there are others that work with the children as well.
Grant Pahl is one of the other coaches, and his poolside enthusiasm is a reflection on how much he enjoys his job.
“I just love to see the kids improve every day, they come in with such great attitudes,” Pahl said.
“I love just working with them and making sure they do well.”
If anyone is interested in joining the swimming club, they can sign up at the front desk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.