September 19, 2013

Osky swimmers to get back into pool


Oskaloosa has had a strong YMCA swimming program for years, but has not had a high school program of its own in quite a few years.
That will change as the Indians will field a combined boys and girls program this winter.
According to Oskaloosa Activities Director Kevin Pederson, Oskaloosa had a girls team in the 1980s, but never a boys team. Oskaloosa began swimming with Ottumwa in the late ‘90s and that lasted until a few years ago when no one from Oskaloosa swam for the Bulldogs.
Pederson is optimistic about the number of athletes who will go out for swimming in its revival.
“I’ve talked to a lot of parents and we think we’ll have anywhere from 15 to 20 kids (going out),” he said. “What I’m hearing from some of the kids is that some who have played basketball in the past may be going out for swimming. I think we’re going to have pretty good numbers.
“It’s going to be a co-ed team that will compete on the boys side. The girls are swimming right now and it’s too late to get anything going with that. We’ll compete in the boys districts in February and if we’re on a relay team and a girl and three boys and they qualify for state, she’ll get to compete at the boys state weim meet.”
Pederson said there’s a lot of parental support for the sport and there’s also strong numbers from third through eighth grade with the “Y” swim team.
“I think the big deterrent with kids not swimming in high school was the fact they had to find their own transportation to Ottumwa and we didn’t provide a bus or suburban or anything so they were on their own and driving through the winter months,” Pederson said. “That was a factor in our decision because if we’re going to have 15 to 20 kids, that’s a good number of kids that can participate in swimming and they don’t have to drive.

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