Each passing day brings North Texas closer to pool weather, and that means the Mansfield ISD Natatorium is open for splashing.
Beginning in June, the natatorium opens to multiple public programs designed to help people learn how to swim as well as a club program for athletes that want to compete.
On June 8, the Learn to Swim program -- open to new swimmers ages 4 through 14 -- kicks off.
The Learn to Swim program will give new swimmers the chance to learn under the tutelage of coaches and instructors from the Mansfield school district. At the start of the lessons, coaches will evaluate the swimmer to ensure they are at an appropriate level. Parents will be allowed to view the lessons from the second floor seating area.
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The cost of the program is $100. The natatorium will host four sessions of eight days apiece, Monday through Thursday beginning at 9 a.m. and running until 7:15 p.m. Classes will last 45 minutes. Sessions include June 8-18, June 22-July 2, July 6-16 and July 20-30. Registration deadline for classes is four calendar days before the first class session begins.
“We have been running this program since the facility opened in the (2006) school year and it’s one of the most successful things we do. We run about 6,000 kids through it per year,” said MISD aquatics director Cody Huckabay. “It’s obviously important (for kids to learn), especially with the number of backyard pools we have in our community and the lakes and vacations to the ocean. It’s a lifetime skill that everyone should have.”
For swimmers that know their way around the water, the district is offering a non-competitive conditioning program. The program is offered to students not a part of the Mansfield Aquatic Club and is intended for swimmers looking to improve their strokes or maintain a fitness level. The program costs $150 and runs from June 8 to July 30. Sessions begin at 7 a.m. and last until 8:30 a.m.
For students interested in diving in high school, the natatorium will offer a dive camp to teach the fundamentals of competitive diving. There are seven sessions in the program and it is offered for a $60 registration fee. The classes are Monday through Friday from 5-6 p.m. Sessions will be offered June 22-26, June 29-July 3, July 6-10, July 13-17, July 20-24, July 27-31 and Aug. 3-7. Registration lasts until the class begins or fills up.
“They will learn some of the basics, get a feel of diving and see if it’s something they enjoy doing enough to continue wanting to do it,” said Jerry Smith, MISD diving coach. “I’ve had several kids enjoy it enough (to come back in the fall). It’s good for the kids that want to get in and learn things before they need to know them.”
The Mansfield Aquatic Club is a competitive swim team that will host its first practice June 8.
Registration is $70 and parents must bring a copy of the swimmer’s birth certificate.
The swim club will compete throughout the summer and practice times will be based on the swimmer’s qualifying skill level.
“We pretty much are close to maxing out the space we have right now. We started out (in January of 2007) with about 13 kids and now we are in the neighborhood of 350,” Huckabay said. “It’s grown so much over the years.”
The Mansfield Dive Club is a competitive dive team that will practice throughout the summer. To join, divers must call the natatorium to schedule a try-out. Fees are based on placement level on the team.
Registration for all programs and additional information can be found at mansfieldisd.org/aquatics.
“(The programs) are huge for us during the summer. We run a lot of kids through here,” Huckabay said. “It’s hard to imagine nine years ago when this opened that this facility can run out of space. There is that kind of demand.”