NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale swimming and diving teams, in a community outreach program, offered free swim lessons to local youth this spring. This was the second year the teams took part in the program, called Yale Swim New Haven, under the leadership of swimmers Annie Killian and Ileana Lucos. The two juniors founded the program last year and teamed up with New Haven Reads, a community book bank and tutoring center in the Dixwell neighborhood, to make it possible.
Twenty-five members of the Yale women’s and men’s teams participated, teaching one-hour lessons for five Saturdays during their off-season. Fifty local children participated, nearly double the amount that participated last year.
“Our goal for this year was to expand the program while maintaining a low swimmer-to-coach ratio,” explained Killian.
By all accounts the program was a great success, providing benefits to both the children and the student-athletes.
“Yale Swim New Haven was a great opportunity to get involved in the New Haven community,” said freshman Monica Tung. “It was so fun to get a chance to work with kids and make swimming, such an important part of our lives, an enjoyable experience for them.”
“By the last lesson, kids who were petrified the first day were jumping off the side of the pool and swimming around. Their parents were very grateful. So I think it was a very successful year,” explained Killian.
The team has high goals for the program in the future; states Killian, “I'm grateful to the athletic department and gym staff that helped us organize the program and use the space. We all had fun, and I have high hopes that the program will continue in future years."