Members of the Gators Swim Team got all wet in the early morning of June 16 – but it wasn’t from being in the pool.
Approximately 30 Gators swim team members, ages 5– 18, worked together in the private swim club’s parking lot to hold their second-annual car-wash fundraising event.
“This helps to pay for equipment for the swim team,” Jeanette King, Gators Swim Team board member, said.
According to the Gators’ mission statement, the swim team is run under the Upper Moreland Swim Club, which is a community-based organization dedicated to promoting sportsmanship, athleticism and responsibility within its youth participants.
This year marks one of the largest participant turnouts in the clubs history, as 170 swimmers of varying ages and skills have signed up for the team.
The Gators participate in the Colonial Swim League, which includes swim club teams from Montgomery and Bucks counties.
These teams practice and compete at swim meets throughout the league’s season, which starts from the second week after Memorial day through the end of July.
According to King, who has three children competing on the Gators swim team, successful meets require several swim meet-related items.
“You need all the auxiliary things, not just a bathing suit and goggles,” King said.
Such items include:
- Practice kick boards (approximately $300 each)
- Payment for officials,
- Software for time recording
- Pool division blocks (approximately $1,000 each)
- Pool Chemicals
- Starting platforms
- Timing clocks
According to Dan Lawn, who is co-chair of the Gators Swim team along with Mac Meade, members of the swim club pay an additional registration fee for swim team participation, however, it is mostly up to the team to provide for such auxiliary items.
“The goal is to break even with the swim team budget, and not to burden the club,” Lawn said.
In recent years, the Gators’ swim team raised funds by holding baked sales and selling other refreshments at swim meets. Lawn gives much credit to the team’s parent volunteers for helping out with the teams fundraising, and especially for volunteering with the diverse list of duties that make every swim meet a success.
However, last year, the Gators were looking for a larger event, to which the youth members of the swim team suggested trying a car wash.
“We weren’t sure if it was going to succeed,” Lawn said. “But, when we found it was a worthwhile venture, we tried it again.”
According to Lawn, last year’s car wash exceeded $500, whose outcome he also expected for this year’s event.
From 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., the Upper Moreland Gators youth members washed and dried car after car, using materials donated by the event’s sponsor Bryner Chevorlet.
Lawn points to the work ethic and enthusiasm taught through swimming as a sport, as the explanation for the youthful team’s willingness to give up their Saturday morning, washing other people’s cars and trucks.
“Swimmers are probably some of the best atheletes in the world,” Lawn said. “It’s without a doubt, one of the hardest sports that nobody knows about.”
J.B. Brady, who is a veteran Gators swim team member at 16, swimming requires both discipline and practice.
“It’s all about conditioning and all-out effort,” J.B. said. “In swimming, you maybe get a 30-second break.”
J.B., a Lasalle High School student, has swam with the Gators since he was 6-years-old. He said that the car wash fundraising event was a not only good way for the team to interact with the community they represent, but also a good way for the older swimmers to interact with the younger ones.
J.B. also recognized that such fundraising efforts help enable his team to continue to compete at swim meets.
“You get to show that all the conditioning and practice pays off,” he said.
More about the Upper Moreland Swim Club Gators Swim Team
The Gators Swim Team’s head coach is Heather Norman with coaches Shelly Lawn, Katie Clair Kelley and Chris Foley. The diving coach is Maggie Meade.
For more information, visit http://uppermorelandgatorsswimteam.com.