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Making a ‘Wave’

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 10:56 a.m. CDT

The Osceola Wave Swim Team hosted the first of two home meets on June 26 at the Osceola Family Aquatic Center.

The meet included competitors from Waukee, Indianola and Ottumwa, marking the first time Waukee and Ottumwa have come to Osceola to compete in a swimming meet.

"Our swimmers are having a great time," Ottumwa swimming coach Jennifer Harter said. "It's a very encouraging, positive atmosphere. Everyone is participating and pitching in to make it go smooth."

Things went just as Osceola Wave Swim Team coach Ezzeldin Aly designed, with quick, fast-paced action.

There was no wasted time at the meet, as events started right on the heels of the the previous event finishing, making for an action-packed, entertaining meet.

Aly said it would be great if the community got more involved with the swimming team, whether it's by getting their children involved or by coming out to support the team at its home meets.

"We need the community to put their hands in, as much as they can, at least to come watch," Aly said. "See how fun it is and send their kids to the swimming pool."

The Osceola Wave Swim Team includes more than 20 swimmers this year, with six who qualified for the state meet last year.

Aly said one of the biggest benefits of swimming is it promotes a healthy lifestyle and provides a safe environment.

"Swimming is safety," he said. "It gets your kids busy in a really safe environment and a long-term lifestyle. It's hard to play football when you are 80, but you can swim when you are 80."

Aly hopes that if more people in the community get involved in swimming that Osceola can build an indoor swimming pool down the line.

"We want to get an indoor pool for the whole community," he said. "Not just for us, but for all age groups. We can use it for physical therapy, or you can use it just for reducing weight. You can come and swim and have fun and enjoy."

Aly said he had a swimmer on the team who last year lost 26 pounds over the course of the swimming season.

"If you have a healthy lifestyle, you stay fit all your life," he said. "Nothing better than to keep the community kids busy in activity."

The June 26 home meet also marked the first time the Osceola Wave Swim Team hosted a meet using block starts, which were paid for through fundraising efforts during the past year.

Hy-Vee, a sponsor for the swim team, helped with the fundraising, which included a buffet dinner.

Currently, the team owns four block starts, but it hopes to add more in the futureso that every leg in the relay events can use a block start.

Harter said the Osceola meet is the only outdoor swim meet her team attends, which provides her kids with a fun opportunity.

"This is our first outdoor meet, and the only one I'm aware of that we're going to have," she said. "It's a different experience, and it's a lot of fun for the kids. It's outdoors, and it's a lot cooler than being inside with all the humidity."

Full results of the meet were unavailable at press time.

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