Chelsea Richardson has been promoted to program director at the Champaign Family YMCA. She oversees aquatics, even as she continues to help manage youth sports and building rentals. In this role, she will oversee the schedule of about 11 lifeguards as they undertake their 2- to 3-hour shifts at the Y’s indoor pool. She also schedules swimming instructors and works with the manager of the city pool to schedule lifeguards at Melvin Miller Park.
Richardson started working for the YMCA one year ago as a high school swimming coach at the city pool, where she worked with two assistant coaches. She noted that most high school students seem to prefer being outside with their friends, although the indoor pool is popular with YMCA members year-round.
“Swim coaching is my main focus because that’s what I was originally hired on to do, and it’s been fun to grow the program this past winter,” she said. “Last year they ended the season with 16-18 kids and this year we ended with over 30, so we had a big growth there. Also, this is our inaugural season with our high school teams, so we have four local high school swimmers whose high schools don’t have swim teams, but we provided on-deck coaching for them so they can still compete for their schools even if they didn’t have a varsity team. So I’m just excited to see it grow and get bigger.”
The YMCA will hold a swim clinic series every other weekend in April and May leading to the opening of the Urbana City Pool on May 19. Regular hours for the city pool are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, but the pool will close at 4 p.m. for summer swim team meets on some Tuesdays or Thursdays during the team’s seven-week season. Registration for the summer swim team will be held in early April.
Richardson said that anyone between the ages of 5 and 18 can participate in the swim team as long as they are able to swim up and down the length of the pool. She said that summer was less intense than the winter season, with swimmers practicing two or three times a week with two meets per week in the evenings, ending with championships on July 17 and 19. The longest event for the summer team is 100 yards – four lengths of the pool.
The YMCA hosts several aquatic fitness classes, including an arthritis program, water aerobics, yoga splash, splash dance and water Pilates. Youth swim lessons are available for free to children ages 5-12 to learn to be safe and have fun around water. Registration for youth swim classes will begin April 22 until classes are filled.
For more information about any of these programs or to register, call the YMCA at 937-653-9622.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304