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Leaps and Bounds: Immel Talks Bullfrogs Swim Team Impact

Let this sink in…swimming is one of the most ridiculous sports out there.  Not what you’d expect to hear from the swim coach,

Swimming is basically a sport to see who is the worst at drowning.

But the rest of Martha Immel’s presentation at Kiwanis Thursday cut through the water like a shark fin laying bare just how impactful the Carmi Bullfrogs swim team is and has been for scores over the years.  From just how difficult and complicated the skill is to how rewarding it can be and the life lessons developed through learning to become a proficient paddler, Immel says kids grow up to be successful adults because of the discipline and focus they learn in the pool.

Winning is fun, but it’s more than competition that keeps youngins getting up early during the summer.

What I’ve found…if kids like being social and hanging out with friends, they’ll come to practice.  Or, as long as they get better and they feel good about their improvement, they’ll keep trying.  So as long as I and our assistant coach, Trinity McCormick can teach them rhythmic breathing, streamlined diving, how to overcome the drag of the water, and how to turn fast, any bad experiences aren’t a problem.

There are 65 swimmers on this year’s Carmi Bullfrog team, some in their 13th season.  And while some participate because it’s an individualized sport, Immel’s confident the most effecting memories they take with them years down the road will be anything but personal performances.

What they’re going to remember is huddling with their teammates in a campout spot in a towel made fort.  They’ll remember meeting their first swim crush from the opposing team at a Saturday invite.  They’ll remember a howling Dan Bierman standing in two feet of water after scraping his back during a backstroke flip turn at McLeansboro.  They’ll remember Levi Warren doing a cannonball into the pool for the backstroke and drenching the timers.  They’ll remember using the resistance of water to put a giggly Aurora Veatch’s entire body into a swim cap.  They’ll remember an excited and brave Ian Mosier rescuing all the screaming little girls from the frogs that invaded the pool when the backwater went down.  They’ll remember playing cards, Legos, and Barbies in the bullpen.  They’ll remember the whole team collectively couldn’t pull Luke Simmons from the bottom of the diving well during thrilling games of sharks and minnows.

From those lessons and memories, many of those kids have turned out to be as Immel describes the best of the best.  Immel spoke at length about 4 in particular who have gone on to serve their country in the military and reminisced about how many of the qualities they exhibited and learned in swim translated into making them successful adults.  Jacob Howard was a 12 year member of the Bullfrogs and a cadet at SIU-C’s Army ROTC program.  Lieutenant Alec Garner, a former team member, was recently pinned at a commission ceremony.  Jonathan Woodard, a 10 year swim team member, has been serving in the US Army for the last 7 years.  And Cooper Accord, a 12 year member, is now in his 2nd year as a member of the US Coast Guard.

Being a part of the Carmi Bullfrogs Swim Team gives kids a unique opportunity for kids to build confidence, make lasting friendships, and develop essential life skills that serve them well into adulthood.  The Carmi swim team isn’t just about swimming or being the worst at drowning.  It’s about diving into a world of growth, camaraderie, and endless possibilities.  If you know of a young person who wants to develop life skills, make friends, and get good at not drowning, send them our way.  We have just the team they’re looking for.

Learn more and keep up with the Carmi Bullfrogs swim team by finding them on facebook here.

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