Girl Scouts take the plunge
The Blue Earth Swim Team is in its third season of competition with 19 Girl Scouts, ages eight to 13, participating.
Coached by Nikita Welder and Bethany Pecholt, the Swim Team is open to all girls in grades one through 12. One does not have to be a currently registered Girl Scout to participate, but by being on the team a girl will automatically become a scout.
This year, the Blue Earth Swim Team began their twice-weekly practices on June 9 and will conclude their season on August 1.
A girl must be able to swim a minimum of 25 yards to be eligible to practice. Other guidelines for swim team members include:
*Team members are required to practice two to three hours a week at the Blue Earth Pool.
*Everyone will compete in a swim meet once a week with at least one of the meets at the Blue Earth Pool. Other meets will be held in Fairmont, Winnebago, Madelia and possibly Heron Lake.
*All girls will compete in every meet.
*All girls will receive ribbons at each meet.
*Each girl will receive a team swim cap.
*Girls compete in brackets for their age group as of June 1.
The second year coaches, Welder and Pecholt, say the girls are judged at meets by their age group and the swim stroke being used. Competition involves the front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke and butterfly.
Generally, there are four teams at each meet. The meets, which last no more than two hours, are free to the public and are usually held on Saturday mornings. This year, the Blue Earth Swim Team will compete in five or six meets by the end of their season, two of which were held at the Blue Earth Pool.
During the practice sessions, Pecholt says the girls mainly tread water and swim laps.
“We do a lot of strengthening, working on their breathing technique and building-up their stamina in the water,” adds Welder.
Welder says swimming is the best form of exercise for the body. There is more technique to it than other sports.
“Seeing the individual personalities at this age,” says Pecholt, “is probably my favorite part about coaching the girls.”
“I like to see the improvement the girls have made over the season,” says Welder. “It’s also fun to see the teammates cheer for each other at the meets.”
As for the swim team members, they are pretty unanimous in saying, “It’s a lot of fun.”
Team member Natali Fellows says she likes doing the laps; Julia Hanson enjoys going to the meets; and Sydney Coxworth says, “I like getting out of the house and seeing my friends.”
“I really encourage the older girls to come out next year,” says Welder. “It’s all about swimming.”
As for the young swim team members, they are really excited just to get in the water. Their enthusiasm is growing and so is interest in the program.