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Capital Aquatics dives into USA Swimming

J.C. Lyell, Staff Writer

A new competitive swim team is coming to the YMCA of Harrison County for swimmers ages 7 to 18.
Matt Hamblen, aquatics director at the Y in Corydon, said for years many Harrison County swimmers have been driving to Floyd or Clark counties or even Louisville for USA Swimming programs.
‘A lot of people have wanted to see a USA team here for a while,’ he said.
USA Swimming teams typically offer nearly-year-round practices and meets for participants. Competition in USA Swimming also is generally more fierce than in local leagues.
Similar to high school swimming, swimmers on USA teams can qualify for divisional, regional and state championships. USA meets, however, often span across multiple days and include a wider variety of age groups and events.
As a result of the change, the Harrison County YMCA swim team, formerly known as the Marlins, will now merge with the new program called Capital Aquatics. The team will be dually registered with both USA Swimming and the Kentucky-Indiana YMCA Swim Association, meaning its swimmers will have the option to compete in either or both swimming leagues.
Program fees will be the same for swimmers regardless of which meets they choose to compete in, although there are separate event entry fees for USA Swimming’s meets.
‘We wanted to make sure to keep it as affordable as possible,’ Hamblen said.
Total costs and practice times will vary depending on which group a swimmer is placed in, and placements are determined by age and skill level.
Assessments were conducted last week and earlier this week to determine swimmers’ groups, but Hamblen said he can schedule individual assessments for swimmers who missed those sessions if they call him at the YMCA.
Hamblen, the program’s director and former coach at Riverside Aquatic Club in Floyd County, finished his first season as head coach of Corydon Central High School boys’ and girls’ swimming programs in February, tacking up a victory at the girls’ Mid-Southern Conference championship.
The Capital Aquatics’ head coach will be Corydon resident Mike Woertz, a former Division I collegiate swimmer and also a former coach at Riverside Aquatic Club. Joining him on the coaching staff will be Bailey Seitz and Heather Stilwell.
Woertz said a big part of the program’s goal is to promote the sport and get more kids interested in swimming.
‘We want to be inclusive of any swimmer, no matter where they are at,’ he said.
YMCA staff and leadership have been very supportive of local swimming programs in the past, and they’re continuing that tradition by hosting the new program, Woertz said.
‘The YMCA have been great partners in this endeavor,’ he added.
Hamblen and Woertz both said that one of the biggest challenges the county faces when it comes to swimming is a lack of competition-ready facilities. As it stands, the YMCA is host to Corydon Central, Lanesville and North Harrison high schools’ boys’ and girls’ practices and home meets.
‘What I’m most worried about now is, are we going to run out of pool space this year? Or next year?’ Woertz said. ‘I don’t want to have to turn anyone away because we don’t have enough lanes.’
To date, there are nearly 60 swimmers registered for competition with Capital Aquatics.
Woertz said if the community shows a great interest in the team and continues to outgrow available facilities, he hopes school corporations or other county leaders might look into building a more competitive facility.
In the meantime, Hamblen said the YMCA will not be able to host any home meets for USA Swimming competition at this time, though they could one day look at hosting a meet for younger age groups.
Capital Aquatics’ 2019-20 season will run from September through May, with practices starting Sept. 3.
Hamblen said the coaching staff opted against continuing practice and competition in the summer.
‘We don’t want to take away from the Harrison County and South Harrison programs,’ he added.
To register a swimmer, visit https://cui.active.com/sports-reg/login?a=dcb6c00e-90a1-4ef6-80ec-e96f4e5d501b.
To learn more about the Capital Aquatics Swim Team, contact Hamblen at 812-734-0770 or by email at [email protected]

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