The Newton YMCA, located in Newton, Iowa, dived into 2020 with a new program: the 100 Mile Swim Club. This initiative was brought to the Newton YMCA by Nick Shelton, the aquatics director, and its goal is to get members to swim at least 100 miles in a year’s span.
The Newton Y uses an honor system to track members’ miles, which are kept in a binder located on the pool deck.
“I believe this program helps keep participants more accountable,” said Shelton. “I think when you have others pushing you to achieve your goals, it makes reaching those goals easier. Participants who swim 100 miles or more will also receive a T-shirt and other prizes, as well as the opportunity to attend a celebratory banquet at the beginning of next year to recognize their achievements.”
According to Shelton, the biggest part of getting this program up and running was advertising. The Newtown Y made flyers, posted on Facebook and used word of mouth to spread the word. “Getting the word out is what really helps get this program off the ground,” he said.
So far, the club has 10 participants, but members are still welcome to sign up. In order to be a participant, they must be a YMCA member and at least 16 years-old, and pay the $10 fee.
If members swim 100 to 199 miles in a year, they receive the 100 Mile Swim Club T-shirt, and if they swim 200 to 299 miles, they receive the T-shirt and a YMCA drawstring bag. If they swim over 300 miles, members receive the T-shirt, bag and a YMCA water bottle. Members have until December 31, 2020 to reach the 100-mile mark.
Shelton believes other facilities should consider offering this program because it helps swimmers with accountability. “Swimming is a very challenging form of exercise and this program is in place to give that little extra push that might be needed to get started,” he said.