Pratt Swim Team starts off the summer season with 70 members on the roster, all swimming for a variety of reasons, all getting health benefits for their efforts.
The Pratt Swim Team is swimming into an 11th season under the coaching of Tonja Harrison. Seventy members strong, they are achieving goals by swimming smart and hard in early practices. Assistant coaches this year are Tonya Younie and Krista LaPrai.
Swim team participants must be at least four-years-old and under the age of 18. The younger team is made up of 12 swimmers under the age of 6.
All swimmers have the option to compete in different events. Those events include the freestyle, the back stroke, the breast stroke, and the butterfly stroke. The back stroke is swum on the back and is faster than the breast stroke. The freestyle is the fastest and the most common stroke. Breast stroke is the most popular stroke out of all the others and it is often the first stroke taught to first-time swimmers. Butterfly stroke is the second fastest stroke. There are also relays in which four members of a team take turns going one at a time and complete a certain stroke. A relay race usually starts out with the second fastest, then third fastest, then the slowest, and last is the stronger swimmer in the group.
Pratt swimmers with the most experience this year include Jenna Harbaugh, Hunter Egging, T'Lane Tobin, and Ruby Howell.
Mackenzie Zimmerman has been on the Pratt Swim Team for six years. She said her favorite stroke is the freestyle. Her goal for the season is to beat her own previous personal records.
There are many benefits for any child on a swim team, such as making friends, self confidence, exercise, life skills, and working as a team with others. Swimming is a healthy way for a child to stay active and to learn skills that are valuable.
According to Johnstonhealth.org, the number one benefit is that swimming can be either a team sport or individual sport. It can also be a fun way to help children to stay fit. It improves on flexibility, posture, and strength.
Coach Harrison began swimming when she was in high school, where she attended Wichita East High. She put her two daughters in the Pratt swim team when they were seven years old. When her youngest daughter was eight years old, the coaching position was available and that is how she became the coach. She plans to continue coaching for Pratt as long as she is able. Harrison said she is looking forward to seeing how well the new kids progress as the season goes on, and anticipates faster times from the experienced.
The Pratt swim team season starts May 28 and lasts until June 29.
Out-of-town swim meets are scheduled for June 12, 15, 26 and 29. Pratt hosts two home meets this year on June 19 and 22.
Spectators and supporters are invited to come to the city pool to support the local swimmers at their home meets.
Volunteers are always needed to help with the meets. Anyone wishing to volunteer may contact Coach Harrison at her store, Balloons and More, 105 W First St.