The YWCA Flying Fish and the Chicago South Swim Club partnered this spring to co-host “Stop the Drowning, Stop the Violence,” the first officially sanctioned swim meet competition the club has held at Chicago State University. The two teams, partners in Make A Splash, the USA Swimming Foundation’s initiative to raise awareness of water safety and provide opportunities for all children to learn to swim, were brought together by Illinois Swimming.

In addition to the Flying Fish and Chicago South Swim Club, seven other teams participated: the Burbank Swim Association, Chicago Park District, Chicago Southland Aquatic Team, Chicago Wolfpack Aquatic Club, Homewood Flossmoor Swim Club, Olsa Lightening and Team Millenium. Sponsors generously underwrote some of the costs of the meet, coaches and officials donated their time, and parents donated concessions, which allowed meet entry fees to be donated to the charities of choice of participating teams.

According to Peter Caragher, Director of Aquatics at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Flying Fish proceeds were donated to Evanston 150 to support the goal of providing swim lessons for every second grade student in the Evanston school system. “It’s good to get back to this meet model,” said Caragher. “We used to host a meet called the Swim Against Violence, and the proceeds from that meet were donated to local charitable organizations. As part of a mission-driven organization, I feel that investing in the future of young people in our community is a practical and valuable use of swim meet funds. Hopefully the meet will continue to grow!”

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About YWCA Flying Fish Aquatics:

With 1300 children in the learn-to-swim program and over 600 swimmers on the team, the Flying Fish are one of the biggest aquatics programs in Illinois. We provide over 140 Learn-to-Swim classes each week in our two pools, taught by consistent, professional adult instructors in small classes.

With both competitive and non-competitive tracks, the team has swimmers competing at the highest levels, but also accommodates swimmers who are primarily interested in recreation and fitness, providing a healthy outlet for children who are not ready to commit to the intensity of competitive swimming.

As a Make A Splash partner, Flying Fish Aquatics actively reaches out to members of the community who might not otherwise have an opportunity to learn to swim or to participate on the swim team, and provides thousands of dollars of aquatics scholarships each year to families who cannot afford the cost of lessons for their children.

We’re not just about strong strokes; we’re also about strong character. As a team, we are committed to regularly supporting our community. All of our team members are encouraged to participate in community service projects and fundraising activities, and the team annually raises about $100,000 through the swim marathon to support all of the programs and services of the YWCA.