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May is Water Safety Month

As the season turns from spring to summer, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA encourages children and parents in Central Iowa to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind.

“Swimming is not only a fun, healthy activity, but an important life skill for all children,” said Shelley Lechnir, Aquatic Director for the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA.  “Learning basic water safety skills is a great introduction to the world of swimming that often continues with swim lessons and competitive swim programs, and can even lead to a career.”

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Y encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming—beginning with water safety. Following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

  • Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.
  • Don’t engage in breath-holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
  • Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
  • Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
  • Enroll your children in water safety or swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, having them participate in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill. The Y’s Swim Lessons teaches children fundamental water safety skills and what to do if they find themselves in water unexpectedly.

Learning how to swim also has multiple benefits beyond the ability to enjoy water safely. It helps children strive for physical achievement, promotes healthy living and builds their confidence. To find out how to enroll your child in the Y’s Swim Lessons program, click this link or call 641-752-8658.

Youth member donates to Fit Kids Program

Pictured above is Tifany Mach with the items she donated to the YMCA-YWCA Fit Kids afterschool program

Tifany Mach is a 9-year-old participant in the Y’s Fit Kids afterschool program.  After her first week in the program, she was already making plans to give back.  “I thought the Fit Kids program needed some books, so I made a video at home asking people to donate and my mom posted it on Facebook.” 

Several family friends responded with generous donations of books and stuffed animals.  Tifany’s family pitched in as well, purchasing a new book case and other items for the program.

Tifany said she previously donated socks and undergarments to her school.  “It felt really good to give, so I wanted to do it again.”  Reading is one of Tifany’s favorite activities at the Y’s Fit Kids program along with playing games and free time. 

Program Director Deb Grove said, “Tifany is an outstanding young person, with a very generous heart. Her gift to the afterschool program shows how it can positively impact the children who participate, giving them ownership of the program and allowing them thrive!” 

Robby Tobias, who is the Fit Kids Coordinator at the Y, added, "Tifany embodies every core value of the Y. Her donation brings a great value and sense of respect to both the Fit Kid and Summer Day Camp programs.  It amazes me that she understands some of our items are getting dated and that she would consider donating new ones.”

Bob & Diana Mumm

It took a little while for Diana and Bob Mumm to get started at the Y.  They joined LIVESTRONG at the YMCA in 2015 after Diana’s third bout with cancer.  3 weeks later Bob suffered a stroke.  They dropped out of the program, but were able to re-join this fall.

This time, they were both survivors; Diana from cancer, and Bob from stroke.  Bob was committed to his own recovery, but he took seriously the role of being Diana’s support person.  When she formed bonds with the other participants in the class, she told Bob to go ahead and work on building his own strength.  Diana said, “I made some really outstanding friends.  There is not one person in our group that I don’t think I could turn to for help.” 

The couple strengthened their relationship as well.  They had some good laughs together trying new classes like Zumba.  Although reluctant to exercise, they felt better after every class.  Bob has seen considerable improvement in his balance, and Diana has more energy to play with grandkids.  They both agreed, “It has been a really great experience.”


Swim Team Regionals 2017

The Y Swim Team had a great weekend at Regionals in Iowa City March 25th & 26th. Coach Shelley Lechnir said, "They did and amazing job! They made new friends and memories that will last a lifetime."


20th Place Team Ranking

6-Top 5 Finishes; 15-Top 10 Finishes

2 Relay Blue Wave Records (9 &10 girls 400 free relay; 9 &10 boys 400 free relay)

Top 3 Point Scorers: Averie Wittkop (93.5), Lesli Waltermire (71.5), and Noah DeSotel (33.5)

Sami Brayton


When Sami Brayton turned 25 she was ready to make a change.  She wanted to get healthier, so she joined the Y and began working out on the elliptical machine.  When she became bored of that, she joined a group exercise class.  Sami said, “I got in the back row of my first class, but I kept coming back.  The instructor, Beth, was really nice and helped a lot.”  Sami expected that she would fall off the wagon and discontinue her workouts at some point, but she said, “Everybody at the Y was so nice, and they added accountability by asking where I was if I missed a class.”
In addition to the friendly and helpful staff, Sami also joined the Y for the quality child care.  As a mom of 3 young kids, it was very important that the Y had a place for them to be safely entertained while she had time to work out.  
Now, two years later, Sami has lost more than 75 lbs.  And she’s become an instructor for R.I.P.P.E.D. and Core Class.  She also serves as a mentor and cheerleader for others who are trying to improve their health.   “It’s fun to see new people in my class and I love it when they come back,” she said,  “because they feel welcomed and they belong.”

2017 Regional YMCA Swim Competition

The Blue Wave Swim Team had 14 members qualify for the Regional YMCA Swim Meet in Iowa City on March 25th & 26th.  Let's cheer them on to Nationals!

Swimmers Include: Alexis Crouch, Beckham DeSotel, Noah DeSotel, Bryce Edens, Charlie Gilbertson, Sam Greazel, Elise Imsland, JP Jones, Michael Lechnir, Emily Manis, Reed Swartz, CeCe Waltermire, Lesli Waltermire, Averie Wittkop

​More information about Iowa YMCA Swimming is at this link: