Swim association gets children moving

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Peek inside the basement of the Natchez Senior Center on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and you might think you’ve stumbled upon the fountain of youth.

Natchez’s senior citizens have always been a lively bunch, but this time it’s not about them.

The children take over the pool twice a week for the Natchez Swim Association’s swim practice and lessons.

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Leading the squad of swimmers is Tammy Whittington, who has been directing the program for over 25 years.

“I don’t do it because I like to sweat,” Whittington said as she stood on the pool deck exhausted after all of the children left.

Whittington has approximately 40 children in the program, and she teaches everything from the basic skills of treading water to the competitive strokes, butterfly, back stroke, breast stroke and freestyle.

During the hour-long lesson, Whittington watches like a mother bird from the pool deck and critiques the children’s arm strokes, kicking and breathing patterns.

Even though the children are huffing and puffing, they all have smiles stretched from ear to ear.

“The children are wonderful,” Whittington said.

“I like to see their progression (of their swimming skills).”

Whittington said she has approximately half a dozen team members who compete in competitions in surrounding towns like Vicksburg and Jackson.

Sarah Homan, mother of two of Whittington’s student swimmers, said that her reasonings for having her daughters in the swim program are slightly selfish.

“I was a swimmer in college, and I want (my daughters) to have more than just the basic swimming skills of being able to tread water,” Homan said.

Whittington said the program is full for the remainder of the fall session, but registration for the spring session will begin in January.