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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One-half second makes a difference

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In swimming competition one-half of a second or even less can determine victory, or getting the best time for the competitor -- meaning to beat previous attempts. The Nevada Neptunes are encouraged to do their best, regardless of what someone else does. Naturally, having success provides satisfaction.

The May 23 column was about the Neptunes starting their swimming season. That was only two months ago and already the season is beginning to wind down, with three more meets and then the Tri-State Championships in Springfield on August 4-5. To compete at Tri-State qualifying times are needed, and attendance to two of the meets that are held previously. The challenge will be to qualify for the finals to be held on the 5th.

Perhaps the best advantage of the Neptune swimming program is the camaraderie that develops among the swimmers and among the parents. They enhance their friendships with each other and enjoy being with the others.

On June 30 Nevada was host to a swim meet with 11 teams and approximately 450 swimmers entered. This brought about 1,000 people to town. It was to be held even if it rained as long as there was not any lighting. It takes a large amount of effort among organizers and effort to get ready four a meet. On that day it rained and rained. There were several concession stands there for the crowd.

It was a downpour, the scoring papers were getting wet and the swimmers were getting cold. There appeared to be no let up in the rain. The meet started, but soon afterwards a coaches meeting was held.

Those in attendance were wondering what was going on. There was speculation that the meet was being called off. Eventually it was announced that the meet was being postponed to Saturday, July 28. There were those from other towns concerned about getting home because of the rising water in many streams. When the postponement was announced, the cold swimmers cheered.

Immediately after people left, the parents and coaches were putting things away. All of the preparations and implementations will need to be done a week from Saturday. The problem with postponement of events is that many people will not be able to attend the second time. Still, there will be a large crowd for the meet to be held locally. It promises to be a good event.

The swimming program provides good exercise for the kids. It is more than that in that it also develops good discipline and sportsmanship. Each day during the week they get up and go to practice, plus there is a practice on Tuesday evenings. This is in addition to the meets held on weekends or during the week in the case of dual meets. Both the swimmers and parents express that it is fun and they enjoy it.

Monty Smith, president of the Neptunes board express that he is pleased with the participation and progress that the Neptunes have made this year. There are a greater number of swimmers and the cooperation among the parents is good.

Paul Eador, vice president, is also pleased with the progress that is being made by the swimmers and the Neptunes. Some of the swimmers are doing an extremely good job of swimming and competing. He expressed he would like for more Neptune swimmers to participate in the swim meets. For the local dual meet there is good participation, but at the meets at other locations, a large number of swimmers do not attend.

Last weekend, at Joplin, there were 13 teams competing. Nevada, with only 23 swimmers came in fifth, which is good for the number of swimmers from the Neptunes. At Lamar, the previous week, Nevada was fourth. This is far better than what Nevada has done in prior years.

Karen Claypool is the coach for the Neptunes for the fourth year. She coached the team previously, so this is a total of seven years as a coach for this team. She expressed that this is the best year. She has seen the participants grow from 25 to 110. She said that there is a good core group.

She also thought the team did well with the meet last weekend with 23 swimmers. In comparison with the number of participants, Joplin had 120 swimmers.

There are several from Nevada that goes to Webb City during the winter to enable them to have year around swimming -- this gives them an edge over the other kids. Currently, the girls' high school swimming team can practice at Cottey, but there is no where for the boys to swim.

Karen expressed a need for year-around swimming in the community. According to her the Y is currently planning an in-door pool. The current proposal is for a 20-yard (possibly 25-yard), three-lane pool. The hopes for a six-lane pool are gone with the fund-raising efforts coming in short. She states that, if a 20-yard pool is all that can be built, all it can be used for is swim lessons and water exercises. Competitive swimming can not use a 20-yard pool to train athletes. The minimum length is 25 yards to properly train swimmers. The additional cost to add the remaining five yards to the pool would have to be borrowed and the board is looking at all options to see if this is even a possibility.

Karen suggests the three-lane pool that is being proposed, which could be used for about 30 kids to practice at one time (although crowded), needs to be 25 yards in order to have a year-around team in Nevada. With six lanes, swim meets could have been held which would have brought large revenue to the town with incoming teams staying two nights to compete.

This coach, with a great amount of knowledge about swimming, is of the opinion that it would be better to wait to build the pool until there are adequate funds, rather then build a pool that can never be used to train competitive swimmers.

She said, "With only water aerobics and learn to swim classes, is this enough to justify spending the money raised that was initially promised to the public for a competitive swimming pool?"

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large