By Caiti Maumenee, Contributing Writer
The sound of small feet splashing the water and grown college athletes blowing bubbles with kids by the side of the pool is just the new normal on Thursday nights at the Luce Center Natatorium. Asbury’s swim team is hard at work on those nights pouring into local kids lives with swimming lessons.
Alex Keyser, the University’s head swim coach, leads the program with the help of his 29 athletes by giving weekly lessons to over 90 registered families. The swim lesson proceeds are going towards providing funds for the swim team to go to Atlanta for a mission trip.
This will be the third year that the swim team has done swim lessons for fundraising. Last year, the team raised $3,200 from two different two-week sessions. Keyser said the tradition of going on a mission trip for the swim team started back in 2006 when he was a junior at the school.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]THIS WILL BE THE THIRD YEAR THAT THE SWIM TEAM HAS TAUGHT SWIM LESSONS AS A FUNDRAISER FOR THEIR MISSION TRIP. THE TRADITION OF A SWIM TEAM MISSION TRIP BEGAN IN 2006. [/pullquote]
“Gary and Dorthy Kempf started a tradition back when I was an athlete in college by instilling in us kids a tangible lesson in servant leadership. They taught each of us that that we aren’t only athletes but we are servants,” said Keyser. The first mission trip that year came up in the form of disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina. “It was inspiring and overwhelming that year as we helped the community recover from that disaster.”
In recent years the team has traveled to Joplin, Missouri, for the tornado disaster relief, as well as Puerto Rico last Christmas. “We have had great success as well as amazing growth as a team going and tangibly serving those in need,” Keyser said.
This year’s captains, seniors Sara Henderson and Kayley Valentien, as well as juniors Tommy Otley and CJ Moritz, couldn’t agree more.
“The mission trip is a huge time for bonding as a team. It is normally the pivotal moment when we become not only a team but a family unit. Friendships are formed on the mission trip that you can’t necessarily form in everyday real life,” Henderson said.
“Teaching swim lessons can be challenging especially for some of the swimmers that have never experienced teaching…But, this opportunity is all about building a culture of positivity,” said Keyser.
Keyser’s goal has been picked up by the rest of his team and has been echoed by his captains. “Our only mission here,” said Henderson, “…is to love on others. It is then that we see each others true colors and intention as a team as we become more like Jesus by continuing to serve not only our community but the world.”
CHECK OUT THE SWIMMING LESSONS VIDEO BELOW: