student life

Students to benefit from new RecSports aquatics programs


Graduate student Rita Costa works with Matt on the kickboard at the SRSC during his lesson on Saturday. Every weekend, Rita gives swimming lessons to autistic teens as a part of the Adapted Aquarius program. IDS File Photo Buy Photos

The Campus Recreational Sports’ Aquatics Department has offered group swim lessons to youth under the age of 18 but learned through a survey that students — who are required to pay a fee to be a member of RS — were unhappy that these young people were taking up pool space.

Ben Smith, assistant director for aquatics, instructional sports and student development for RS, said students are the main focus of a new program with more options. All offered programs are funded through the required fee.
“That is a huge commitment for us,” Smith said. “We’re here because
of students.”

A new “RS Leisure Lounge” offers sports such as water basketball, water volleyball, inner tube water polo and battleship, a sport that consists of teams of four in canoes who try to sink their opponents.

Adult and student group swim lessons were expanded to four levels, up from the previous three. SwimFIT has also been added as a new option for advanced swimmers.

Students aren’t required to sign up for water volleyball or water basketball and can play a pickup game at their leisure.

“Because of a small change, we’re able to do so much more for students,” Smith said.
The facility will sponsor “Try it Free Week” starting Aug. 20, allowing students to sign up for group swim lessons and sample new programs for free.

Smith said the youth participating in swim lessons would take up as many as 13 lanes at one time. Students and faculty were not able to fully utilize the pool during those lessons.

He said only 37 percent of the youth were actual members of RS compared to 87 percent of those taking adult and student swim lessons. The fee these families paid covered only the costs of instruction, not the use of the facility.

Young people in the community can now sign up for private swim lessons, a 45-minute practice with an instructor.

Aquatics Graduate Assistant Aaron Kroth has participated in inner tube water polo.  He said these new programs give students new opportunities and activities.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “There’s a lot of cool things happening.”

Senior Gabrielle Sokol works at both the HPER and SRSC. She was also a member of an inner tube water polo team last year. Sokol has had the opportunity to play some of these sports.

She said battleship is “silly and fun” and already has a team prepared to play. She also said she hopes to form teams for other aquatic sports.

“It’s a huge stress reliever and a great way to meet other people,” Sokol said.

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