Closed pools Open water

Most nights a few hours before sunset, there is a new home grown recreation program jumping into the waters of Lake Erie off the shore of Euclid.

Amid the “across the board” shut down due to the Corona Virus outbreak, the idea for a new type of swim club was pitched by Maura Delaney. Maura spent her childhood enrolled in the summer City swim programs. She’s been a coach of the Euclid Panther swim team the last 3 years and is currently a member of Ashland University’s swim team. The 2020 swim season was cancelled and city pools closed. So Delaney put her vision into motion and used Erie’s waters as her home pool.

Forty youth swimmers took her up on the offer from ages six to seventeen. Everyday, weather permitting, they arrive for a temperature check, buckle on a brightly colored pull float, specifically used for open water swimming. There are two, one hour sessions. The younger ones go in first and the second hour is for the older kids. With no opposition to prepare for, lane lines, or walls to push off of, they spend practice time learning techniques, strengthening strokes, and adapting to pack swimming in the open water.

Together with Maura’s passion for swimming and her calling to coach, she saw to it that the kids in the ranks behind her didn’t lose a year of growth and a chance for a unique experience.

Delaney calls out familiar practice sets to the team, but to move through the rolling erratic waves require the swimmers to adjust and discover a wider ability.

This Lake Erie open water team has already participated in the Global Swim Series. Having had 3 swimmers compete in the 1 kilometer virtual race. The program runs over 7 weeks and is the only one of its kind in the area.

In these very challenging times we find ourselves living with CDC guidelines, social distance, and keeping surgical masks close at all times. There have been many sacrifices made in attempts to cut off a killer virus. It’s particularly difficult to watch so much taken from our youth. Open water swimming may be a summer solution that is at the end of the street off of Lakeshore Boulevard.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 4:04 PM, 09.03.2020