Can You Help Us Adopt A Swimmer?

By David

One of the pools we use is in a less well-off neighborhood. I like it actually. It’s the sort of place you drive through dodging youths throwing 50 meter passes to each other, of front yards crowded with ladies sitting on plastic chairs discussing their children and old men preparing an evening grill. The local City of Delray authorities are doing a great and unheralded job of providing recreation here. Every afternoon the field behind the pool is filled with a hundred small nippers, dressed in pads and bright green football helmets going through their drills, preparing for the National Football League. The basketball courts beside the pool are home to their taller cousins shooting a thousand baskets and cheerleaders practicing for their call to come cheer for the Dallas Cowboys. Two tennis courts on the other side are littered with a hundred balls: the home to potential grunting Williams sisters. It’s busy, it’s active and it’s good to be a part of.

It has presented me with a problem though – swimmers whose parents simply cannot afford our pool and swimming fees. Already I have agreed to coach five local swimmers for free – on scholarship. And then yesterday I saw a young girl cruising the pool with the relaxed ease seldom seen in even the well coached. She’s tall and lean: the sort of build East German recruiters used to revere. The Pool Manager tells me she is eleven years old and doesn’t own a swim suit. She borrows one from the pool office each afternoon. There is no possibility her family could ever afford swimming fees. I have always been firmly of the view that no one should be denied the right to explore their talent because of a lack of money. Talent after all is not the sole prerogative of the well off. This girl is a classic example of that truth: just perhaps a female Cullen Jones waiting for her chance, needing a break.

There is a real need to expand the scholarship program beyond the five students I already support. The full cost of registration, coaching and pool fees is $1000 per annum: made up of $840 swimming fees and $160 pool fees. If there is anyone reading Swimwatch who can help by adopting this swimmer or others like her we would love to hear from you. Even the smallest donation makes the world of difference.


Here’s the way it works

The swim team has established a Pompey Park Swimmer’s Account through PayPal. By following the instructions below, a donation of any amount can be made to the Pompey Park Swimmer’s Account. Each month the  Account will then pay the City of Delray Beach the monthly coaching fees and pool fees for swimmers from difficult circumstances that are selected for scholarship assistance. I will anonymously report on Swimwatch the amount of all assistance received.

Here’s how to help

Click on the “DONATION” button:

Follow the instructions for making your donation

Here’s who you can contact

If you want to discuss the Adopt a Swimmer program and confirm your donation is going directly to help a swimmer from the Pompey Park area, here are some contact numbers.

Administrator – Benn Stille, (561) 732-9305, ext. 6208, Email

Swim Team Treasurer – Peter Kariher, (561) 767-0192, Email

Pompey Park Pool Manager – Nina Salomom, (561) 243-7358, Email

Coach – David Wright (561) 703-2858, Email

Coaching swimming in this community can be incredibly satisfying. I am teaching some adults to swim just now. When one particular lady arrived, just getting down the steps into the water took her a full measure of courage. Three lessons later, she can swim about ten meters, kick 50 meters and float on her back. I have been fortunate enough to help some good swimmers. However, the delight in this learner’s face when she discovered the new world of just floating was as satisfying as coaching a National Championship or Master’s World Record. Not more or less satisfying but certainly equal. I would imagine there may be some who doubt the honesty of that thought, but it’s true. When you next see someone float for the first time, look closely into their eyes. You will find there all the wonder of discovery. The last time I felt that way was when I flew an aeroplane solo for the first time. I had joined a new club, glimpsed a new environment and discovered a new world to explore. Clearly swimming has offered this learner the same feeling of awe. I suspect the most extravagant comment she has ever made was her reply to my question, “Have you told them at home about your swimming?” She said, “Yes, I’m bragging.” But as Muhammad Ali said, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.”