SwimAmerica Celebrates 15 Years in the Berkshires
GREAT BARRINGTON, MA (March 9, 2011) -- The South County Falcons Swim Team was launched in 1994 with fourteen swimmers. Back then it was the only competitive swim team available to youths below the Lenox line. Two years later the Falcons had 57 athletes squeezed into the 3-lane Eden Hill pool on the grounds of the Marion Fathers in Stockbridge.
In April of 1996, Falcons coach Bill Meier introduced the SwimAmerica swim lesson program at the Eden Hill pool. “SwimAmerica, an innovative lesson system instituted by the American Swimming Coaches Association, was an immediate hit,” said Meier. “Sixty children joined in the inaugural session.”
When the pool at the Marion Fathers closed and the Falcons disbanded, Meier kept the SwimAmerica program alive, expanding to five different locations from Pittsfield to Sheffield. In 1999, the swim lesson program found a permanent home in The Kilpatrick Athletic Center on the campus of Bard College at Simon’s Rock where Meier is now Director of Aquatics.
This April, SwimAmerica celebrates 15 years of bringing quality swim lessons to the Berkshires. “Since 1996, the program has taught thousands of Berkshire region children how to be safe around, and enjoy, the water,” Meier explained, “Hundreds of local residents, from high school students to grandmas and grandpas, have been trained to teach children to swim. SwimAmerica graduates have gone on to win regional, state and national titles in club, high school and college swimming.”
To give back to the community, SwimAmerica and The Kilpatrick Athletic Center will offer one week of swim lessons FREE. Each day, from Monday, April 11 to Saturday, April 16, we will provide approximately 100 lessons a day for children in the Southern Berkshire region. Preregistration for this event is required. A child can come to as many days of lessons as they can fit in their schedule with the only restriction being one lesson per child, per day. Our goal is to complete 500 swim lessons in the week.
Bill Meier, Director of Aquatics
Bard College at Simon’s Rock