Note: The Connecticut Media Group is not responsible for posts and comments written by non-staff members.

Just Add Water (and Fun) at Annual Water Rat Intrasquad Meet

Coach Mark Sedlak getting ready to take part in the parent-child relay.

The Family Y’s annual Water Rat “Red & Blue” Intrasquad swim meet took place Saturday, December 21, and rarely has our Y been the scene of such high energy and holiday cheer.

Postponed from its original date due to Hurricane Sandy, this casual “total team” event featured more than 150 young swimmers participating in fun relays and concluded with the much-anticipated swimmer vs. parent race.

With hundreds of parents, friends and Water Rat alums cheering on from the bleachers and pool deck, our Pool Lobby was the busy setting for the Water Rats traditional spread of refreshments, as well as a display about our ongoing “Just Add Water Soon” (aka JAWS) effort to expand of the Aquatic Center of our new Family Y.

The doughnuts and hot chocolate help explain the high energy, and here’s what much of the holiday cheer was all about: Our “JAWS” campaign has succeeded!

Thanks to the generous support of so many dedicated Y members, we have raised sufficient funds (more than $340,000 since September) to give the volunteer Boards that guide our “Building What Matters” capital campaign the confidence to proceed with plans to enlarge our 25-yard competitive lap pool by an additional two lanes (for a total of 10 lanes) and to increase the size of our warm-water family/teaching/recreational pool by an additional seven feet in width and more than 70 percent by water volume.

Our successful “JAWS” effort will allow the Family Y to provide more space for lap swimming, swim instruction, water-safety lessons and recreational play and will significantly increase space and flexibility for aqua exercise and other fitness programs. It will increase our opportunities to serve special-needs populations as well as the many fellow nonprofit groups with whom we partner.

Adding two lanes to our competitive lap pool will give our Aquatic staff greater programming flexibility. Additionally, having a 10-lane lap pool will allow us to add an aquatic climbing wall (a new play innovation that is proving popular at other Ys).

Former Water Rat coach Bill Krumm with current head coach Ellen Johnston.

What’s more, our campaign leaders are delighted to announce that the new home of the Water Rat Swim Team will be named The Strittmatter Family Aquatic Center, in honor of Board President Bonnie Strittmatter, her husband Bill, and their children, Laura and Alex. Bonnie’s tireless efforts and her family’s philanthropic leadership are an inspiration to us all as we continue to build what truly matters — a modern new Y facility on our Mahackeno campus that will serve our members and the entire community for generations to come.

Our work is not done: To make the Strittmatter Family Aquatic Center the best it can be, we need your support to help finance essential features and equipment and to close the remaining funding gap of $660,000.

Here’s a link to our online donation page on the Y’s website, which will allow Y supporters to contribute to our capital campaign as well as our annual fundraising effort, which allows us to continue our charitable work in our community. We thank you for your support!

And please enjoy these photos of the day…