Children ages 9 to 18 will go to the Portales City Pool to show off their talents 3 p.m. Wednesday for the Portales Kiwanis Club’s annual swim meet.
According to Portales Kiwanis President Tony Schroeder, the event has been taking place in Portales for more than a decade and he has been the chair of the event for the last four years.
“It’s something for the kids and a way to encourage physical activity,” Schroeder said. “It’s consistent with our mission statement for providing activities for youth and the community in general.”
Schroeder said the event includes races between specific age groups using the forward crawl, the backward crawl and the breast stroke.
He said other events Kiwanis participate in include the annual trash walk, the pet show at the Roosevelt County Fair and the annual science fair. He said the club also gives scholarships to high school graduates going to college.
“That’s part of our mission, to help do community service,” Schroeder said. “What we do is assign tasks to individuals and begin to look and say ‘what could they do.’”
Chrissy Phelps, assistant manager of the city pool, said this is her fifth year to help with the annual event.
Phelps said children 9 to 11 years old are grouped together; children 12 to 13 years old and 14 to 18 years old. She said four swimmers will race at once and there are ribbons for first through sixth place.
“I think it’s really important for kids to be able to participate in swim meets because there’s not a whole lot of them in this area,” Phelps said. “It’s also good for the kids to know how to swim and know they’re doing well.”
Phelps said all of the lifeguards are encouraging with children and all of the participants receive some kind of ribbon so there are no losers at the event. She said the event is good family fun and makes kids feel good about themselves.
“Just seeing kids get excited about swimming is the rewarding part,” Phelps said. “Because whether they get first or fourth place, they get excited.”
Schroeder said after the event ends, free watermelon will be provided for swimmers and their families at City Park next to the pool.
“I look forward to just seeing the kids and how well they do,” Schroeder said. “They love it. They enjoy the recognition they receive and it’s good, friendly competition.”