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Making waves in the community. (Swimming).

OVER THE COURSE OF A single day, Stevenson's Aquatic Center facility was able to play host to seven different programs. Through clever scheduling and cooperation among the program directors, all seven programs gave both our students and community ample opportunity to use the facility that they had funded.

Many people are unaware of the number of programs and the number of kids that can be accommodated in one swimming pool. The numbers are staggering. In fact, a single aquatic facility has the potential to offer something to each member of the community.

At Stevenson, our facility plays host to more than 20 programs over the course of a year. The pool is often in use from sunrise to sunset and beyond--a 16-hour day is commonplace.

What makes our facility unique is that the pool time is not dominated by one program. It's not even dominated by the training time for elite athletes. We have managed to strike a balance among all of our programs.

Swimming is the major force in our aquatic programs. In addition to establishing high school swimming programs, we have a USA Swimming feeder program, a swimming lesson program for community children, and individual private lessons for both children and adults.

As with any high school feeder program, one of our goals is to develop the swimming ability of our children before they enter high school. Swimming itself offers a variety of benefits, such as an improved fitness level, improved social behavior, and goal-setting.

The same structure is in place for our diving and water polo programs. Children in the community are given a chance to learn the skills early on, so that they are better prepared for high school competition and beyond.

Each of our programs is focused on the gradual introduction of children to the sport and continual improvement. The primary goal is retention--keeping the children involved in the programs.

All of this is made possible by our aquatic center. Having a facility the size of ours enables us to run many of these programs simultaneously. At one point during the afternoon, four different programs can be using the facility at the same time: for swimming practice, diving practice, water polo practice, and individual swimming lessons! Truly a unique happening.

In addition to sports, we offer various Red Cross courses to both our students and the community. These courses create lifeguard job opportunities for our students, many of whom return to the facility in the summer to teach in the Learn to Swim program or work as pool leaders throughout the school day.

Many other programs in the school and the community make use of the Facility: the local Fire Department will test their equipment in our water from time to time; the cross-country and track teams will come in early in the morning to improve strength by running in the water; and the school's athletic trainers will use the facility to help rehab athletic injuries.

Our Aquatic Center has also hosted prestigious competitions such as the IHSA Water Polo State Tournament, the Illinois Swimming Age Group State Championships (four times in five years), and almost 20 IHSA Sectional Championships in swimming, diving, and water polo.

The revenue made from such ventures has helped us staff our programs with outstanding coaches and instructors, purchase the best equipment for our athletes, and perhaps, most importantly, help us invest in our facility and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Though only six years old, the Stevenson Aquatic Center has already had an immeasurable impact on the community. Our families have been able to participate in a program that suits their interests or needs, and our kids have experienced the joy of competing in a situation and environment that compares with the very best.
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Title Annotation:Stevenson Aquatic Center
Author:Witkowski, Aaron
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Words:628
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