May 31, 2007

Swimming & Diving Teams Make An Impact On Worcester Community

May 31, 2007

WORCESTER, Mass. - The Holy Cross men's and women's swimming and diving teams kept up their hard work after concluding their seasons at the Patriot League Championship in February. The teams have worked together on various volunteer projects and accumulated well over 300 hours of service for the benefit of the Worcester community and those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

On Saturday, March 31, the swimming and diving teams joined over 200 other Holy Cross students taking part in the 10th annual Holy Cross Cares Day. This yearly charity event sends Holy Cross students to various sites throughout Worcester to help other full-time volunteers carry out their missions. The swimmers and divers spent the morning painting at Friendly House, a site that offers after-school programs to children of low-income families. It was certainly a good way for teammates to spend the first beautiful weekend of spring together, while helping others at the same time.

A few weeks later, the men and women joined together again to field a team for participation in the sixth annual Holy Cross Relay for Disaster Relief. The money raised from the event went to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The swimmers participating collected $200 from other team members, and ran 30 laps around the Hart Center Track.

The majority of the community service hours came from participation in the Holy Cross DEAFinitely Swim Program, designed to provide swim lessons to hearing impaired children and their relatives. The swimming and diving teams joined with the American Sign Language (ASL) Program at Holy Cross to effectively provide instruction on how to swim. Those receiving lessons ranged in age from three years old to adult, and all varied in how well they could swim at the start of the program. The program ran for five weekends, lasting for two hours for each weekly lesson. With the assistance of the ASL students, the swimmers and divers improved communication with those they instructed over the course of the lessons by participating in 20 minute sign lessons each week before the start of class.

Senior Matt Frigault, a four-year breaststroker on the men's team as well as ASL student and former coordinator of the DEAFinitely Swim Program, described the impact the instructors have on those they work with: "The time and effort provided by the swimmers shows in the year-to-year improvement of those they work with. It is easy to see why the children come back each year for more lessons."

At the conclusion of summer vacation both swimming and diving teams will be back in the pool in August working hard to prepare for the upcoming 2007-2008 season.