JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The Tsunami are returning to the Marble Falls city pool.
Cameron Bahr, executive director of the YMCA Greater Williamson County, announced the Marble Falls Tsunami swim team will be coached by Katrina VanBenthuysen.
Practices begin June 2 at the city pool, 305 Buena Vista. Practice is 9-10 a.m. each Tuesday and Thursday until the season ends Aug. 20. The team also will practice in the Tex Robertson Natatorium at the YMCA of the Highland Lakes at Galloway-Hammond, 1601 S. Water St. (U.S. 281) in Burnet, because the facility has start blocks and a competition pool.
“We are very excited to get a good program rolling there,” VanBenthuysen said. “We are definitely focused on teaching and improving and giving kids a real passion for swimming.”
The Burnet Water Dawgs also start June 1 at the YMCA of the Highland Lakes. The team will be coached by Krystal Lunsford.
The cost to participate is $135 and includes a free red cap. Swimmers must be able to backstroke for 25 yards and do a 25-yard freestyle. Registration for both teams ends May 30. While the teams are typically for youngsters who are 6 or older, VanBenthuysen said she knows many 4- and 5-year-olds who can swim the necessary distances and join up.
While swimmers can compete for the Marble Falls and Burnet teams during the summer, VanBenthuysen said the hope is that athletes will fall in love with the sport and decide to compete for the Tex’s Waves, the YMCA’s year-round program.
“Hopefully, they’ll continue with year-round swimming,” she said. “We’ll give the kids a passion for swimming and encourage them to continue. Hopefully, they’ll grow into competitive USA swimmers.”
VanBenthuysen said the configuration of the Marble Falls city pool shouldn’t be thought of as a disadvantage.
“When it comes to competitive swimming, it’s not about the pool,” she said. “It’s about the coaching style and what you learn. Technique can be taught in short distances.”
VanBenthuysen was a high school swimmer but attended a college that didn’t offer a swim program. So she taught swimming lessons. After she moved to Texas, she continued that for the YMCA and the Nitro swim program, a nationally recognized competitive swim team based in Austin, before being hired full time at the YCMA.
She wants her swimmers to fall in love with the sport like she did.
“That’s a bunch of what I hope to bring to this league,” she said. “I want to give these children their first taste of the joy of being a part of a team. There’s still a huge team aspect of it.”
Swim teams have committed to competing in seven meets, including the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s regional and state meets in July.
Go to www.ymcagwc.org/burnet to download applications or for more information.