By Adam Thorp

Louisiana – Backers of the Twin Pike Family YMCA youth swim team hope that a fundraising drive currently underway will help the team make an even bigger splash going forward.

The equipment the team is looking to buy would allow the YMCA to host much bigger meets, giving the team more chances to compete and drawing in money and visitors to Pike County and the YMCA.

Team Coach Joe McLaughlin said the team was looking to purchase a digital record-board, a starting system, an online platform for registration and other team management goals, and as an “ultimate goals,” an automatic timing system for races.

According to McLaughlin, the equipment would allow the YMCA to host invitational meets with multiple teams. As many as 400 to 500 swimmers could attend the meets, McLaughlin said, making it a substantial event not just for the YMCA swimming program but for the town as well.

“It could be a big income source for the community, for the Y and for the swim team,”McLaughlin said.

A fully equipped pool at the Twin Pike YMCA would be well-positioned to compete with other YMCAs around the state.

“The pool at the Y here is a very nice facility, compared to a lot of the other YMCAs in the state. The amount of deck space we have, how bright the room is, the ability to turn the track above the [pool] into a spectator area, really sets us up,” McLaughlin said.

Although the prices are variable, McLaughlin said it could total tens of thousands of dollars.

A TV to serve as a record-board has already been donated, McLaughlin said. The record board should boost awareness of the team and allow the team to offer up the board as a sponsorship opportunity. The TV will also provide an opportunity for swimmers to watch recordings of themselves in order to improve their techniques.

The team has sold T-shirts and hoodies and hosted a Christmas-themed silent auction in support of those goals.

The push came courtesy of a newly organized group of parents, McLaughlin said.

“[They] jumped right on board, very quickly,” McLaughlin said.  

McLaughlin credited swim parent Tracy Harrison for pursuing company sponsorships, including a $1,000 donation from Walmart, and securing the TV and a laptop computer for the team.

The team has had 40 swimmers overall for the winter season, McLaughlin said.

People interested in backing the swim team in their efforts should call or stop by the YMCA and ask about donating to the team, McLaughlin said.

If their efforts are successful, McLaughlin said they would hope to begin hosting multi-team meets once next winter’s swim season kicks off.

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