Stripers celebrate grand opening of Monroe Family Aquatic Center

From left are (front row) Leigh Purcell, Mary Helne, Esther Glover, Nancy O’Shaugnessy, Alison Jayne and Lisa Shivers; (next row) Kathy Broderick, Bob Sikora, Michele Faulkner and Steve Minnigerode; (next row) Phoebe Mix, Frank Miller, Michele Faulkner, Kathryn Gregory, Pat Sikora, Jessica Servis, Andrea Latell and Andy Brown; (next row) Kathy Kauffman, Scott Kauffman, Charlotte Hollings, Will Stallings, John O’Shaugnessy, Craig Bauer, Michele Lybarger and Bruce Guthrie.

On November 9, the Northern Neck Family YMCA celebrated the grand opening of the Monroe Family Aquatics Center.

Arguably, no group was happier to see this day come than the Stripers Masters Swim Team, reported Leigh Purcell. This aquatics center, once only a dream, became a reality with many small and large donations. The two major donors were Doug Monroe, whose name graces the new facility, and Pim Montgomery, after whom the family pool is named, an outdoor pool with zero depth entry and a two-story slide.

Another significant donor was Kathy Broderick, one of the core members of the Stripers, said Purcell. Broderick had always been an athlete but she found a real home swimming with the team in 1998.

Sadly, the love of her life, Mike, passed away a few years ago. Broderick misses him terribly and used her donation to name one of the lanes of the pool in Mike’s memory.

She also generously contributed the Olympic style timing system, to honor Kathryn Gregory, the Striper’s first coach and the reason the team came into being.

The swim team has been going strong ever since and the weekend of the pool opening, 50 current and previous team members enjoyed catching up with one another at the home of Lisa and Gregg Shivers, also known as Shivers Timbers, said Purcell.

“Camaraderie is one of the most important components of our team as it offers the opportunity for each swimmer to swim faster and more efficiently and to participate in fun activities both in and out of the water,” said Purcell.

Gregory and her husband, Tom, traveled from their home in Florida to attend the opening and then catch up with old friends and meet new ones at Shivers Timbers.

Masters swimming is designed to be fun for ages 19-119. Members enjoy swimming three practices a week coached by Craig Bauer, a Level III Certified Masters Swim Team Coach. The Northern Neck Stripers are part of the U.S. Masters and the Virginia Masters.

To join, contact the YMCA at 435-0223. Whether personal goals include competition or not, for those who love to swim, there is a place in Masters swimming. Practices are 7 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 6:45 a.m. Wednesdays at the Northern Neck Family YMCA, 39 William B. Graham Court, Kilmarnock. The team also has a more informal practice at 8 a.m. Saturdays.