by Greg Lincoln
The Yukon Kuskokwim Aquatic Center was the venue for the first ever swim meet to be held in the history of Bethel. And it was a moving event for those in attendance, including some of the founding members of the Bethel Lifesavers.
The swim meet which took place last Saturday was more like a joint practice for the Bethel Warriors swim team along with their guests, the Nome Nanook swimmers. The pool area was brightly lit, the temperature was tropical, and there were bleachers for the visitors to sit on while they munched on food from concessions.
Parents, teachers, BRHS students and members of the XC team, and the BRHS cheer team who had the audience cheering were there to support the athletes.
Coach Sgt. Calvetti opened the meet with greetings and appreciation to all that made it possible for the meet to occur.
“A lot of this wouldn’t be possible without our awesome parents, Bev Hoffman, and the team from Nome,” said Coach Calvetti. “It is awesome that they can come here to do this.”
Tears welled up in more than one set of eyes during the event – it was a dream come true – Bethel’s first swim meet in a competition-sized swimming pool.
The first event was the 200 medley relay where swimmers took turns swimming down their lane and back while doing the backstroke, breaststroke, the butterfly, and the freestyle. The following rounds included the 200 yard freestyle, the 50 yard freestyle, and more.
There was at least two small breaks during the competition to allow the swimmers a chance to catch their breath. The swim teams mingled happily chatting during the event.
For years it was the dream of the Bethel Lifesavers – a group of dedicated parents and community members who worked tirelessly to achieve the goal of having a swimming pool in Bethel where children and adults alike could safely learn how to swim and to live an active healthy lifestyle.
“Thank you for donating,” said Coach Calvetti. He thanked the Bethel Lifesavers, Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures, T&H Leveling, and the VFW Auxiliary for their donations. “Fundraising will help us go to more competitions. What a great community.”