Green Waves: Cathedral trio looks to improve using new pool

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2018

NATCHEZ — What’s a swim team with no water?

For a trio of Cathedral School students, that’s exactly what has challenged them for the past two years.

Julia Richardson, Sophia Bennett and Sophie Webber, all swimmers representing the Green Wave, are some of the most dedicated people volunteer coach Tanya Richardson has ever seen, she said.

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“We didn’t really have a place to swim,” Tanya Richardson said. “They have to love it to have the imagination they have had for the past two years.”

Luckily, Richardson said she is ecstatic for the potential to use the newly opened Natchez community swimming pool for practices and maybe even a meet sometime in the future.

“When I heard about the pool, I was very excited,” she said. “It would allow the kids to have exactly what they needed.

“We just did what we had to do. We worked out something with the people at Beau Pré to use their pool, but it wasn’t ideal. Of course it’s designed for recreation and not competition so we had to get creative and do some other workouts.”

Richardson said she has committed her time to leading the three dedicated swimmers since swimming was one of her daughter’s favorite things to do. Julia, who will head into the ninth grade this fall, is still learning along with her other teammates.

Last season, the trio traveled to three MAIS sanctions meets, and also to the MAIS state meet two years ago.

“When we went to our first meet, my daughter had never even seen a starting block,” Tanya Richardson said. “Just having that will improve their speed and their skills.

“One of her favorite strokes is the backstroke, too, and she has never really gotten to practice that because we didn’t have lanes.”

Richardson said to continue building Cathedral’s swim status, she has contacted the YMCA, who runs the pool, in order to hopefully establish a set practice schedule.

“It’s just a process of transferring documents,” Richardson said. “In the past we have really focused on doing a lot of work on Saturday mornings, and if we could do swimming one other day a week, that would be great.”

Alice Agner, director of the Natchez YMCA, said she welcomes any participants.

“We are not here to deny access to anybody at the pool,” Agner said. “But, of course with anything there are things that need to be taken care of. If any other schools want to have access, all they have to do it reach out.

“So far, Cathedral is the only school that has contacted me directly.”

Richardson said she hopes to have a practice schedule set by sometime in early August. The MAIS season runs for a few months until the early fall.

If anything, Richardson said she is simply happy the pool is here to serve not only her team, but the community, too.

“I hope now we will get some more interest, but really it’s just a great way to exercise,” she said.

To contact the YMCA, call 601-304-2009.