I am writing to express my concern over the possible closing of the pool at BCC. Our family has been involved with swimming for 17 years. When we first started with the Golden Belt Swim Squad our daughter was 5 years old and it was suggested by one of her doctors that swimming may help with some health issues she was facing at the time. Didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the program and what it offered for her and for us as a family. Our youngest son saw how much fun his sister was having and of course quickly joined in!
Since then we have spent our summers going to the pool at BCC learning all kinds of things; the love of a sport that will serve you well the rest of your life; the specific mechanics of each stroke and how you can make your body move through the water quickly and beautifully; how to work together as a team to accomplish a goal; how to support team mates in their learning process; the importance of healthy and nutritious eating and how it effects your performance; respect of coaches and other team mates; the importance of setting personal goals; learning to compete against your own times in the pool; and always doing your best. These lessons have helped them in all aspects of their lives.
I could go on and on about what our family has learned through this process and about how much we have enjoyed every minute of this experience. Both of our two children competed through GBSS and then went on to compete for the GBHS. Because of their hard work and dedication, both of them had successful high school careers. Because of their love of swimming and helping others learn this sport, both of them have or are currently coaching GBSS. Being on the swim team has also led them to their summer job of life guarding for several summers at the Wetlands here in Great Bend and a job for our son at K-State coaching their club team.
If the pool closed and forced GBSS to disband, it would not only affect our swim team. It would surely affect all of Western Kansas Swim Club as GBSS has been one of the largest swim teams in the league for several years and serves as a strong presence and leader for all the other teams in the league.
The GBHS swim team has had an excellent coaching staff for years and an extremely successful program. Why would we let go of this winning tradition?
I am not sure that BCC realizes what an asset they have for the community in Great Bend. I am sure there are many families that would be disappointed if the swimming in Great Bend came to a screeching halt because of a decision that was made in haste. I would hope that BCC, GBHS and the City of Great Bend could work together to keep this asset in place. Maybe a meeting with all boards present could be a better use of time and talent to figure out what is needed and best for all involved.
As a concerned community one way to let all involved know how we feel about this situation is to start talking and spreading the word. Talk with the GBHS school board and the Superintendent! Talk with the Board of Trustees at BCC! Attend the meeting next Thursday, May 28 at the college where they will be voting on this very issue! Write a letter to the Editor! If we don’t let others know of our passion for swimming in our community we may just lose the opportunity!
James and Debbie Kuhlman