The Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center will be hosting a variety of family-friendly events and classes during the next few months.

"We've expanded our program," said Susan Hyden, community director at the center. "We added more special events in our park. We've even got more people (to join our programs)."

Hyden, who has been a part of the center for the past 10 years, believes that the events offered have improved over the years. She said her favorite thing about the center is that it is "family-friendly."

From March 11 to 14, there will be a spring break camp for kids ages 6 to 14. Professionals will instruct them in golf and tennis. Prior experience isn't necessary. All tennis rackets, golf clubs and necessary equipment will be provided. The cost is $194 per camper, and the camp will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

On March 27, there will be a dog show, which is open to the public. There will be both an adult ring and kid ring for the show.

"The kids have a good time showing off their dogs," Hyden said.

The dog show will have many different categories, such as best dressed, looks more like owner, cutest, best kisser, best trick, smallest, tallest, longest tail and best trick. All dogs must be at least 4 months old in order to participate, and donations for Valley Dog Rescue and Pets 911 will be taken from dog owners who want to show off their dogs in any of the nine categories.

The event will take place on Sunday, March 27 from 9 a.m. to noon, and will feature canine educational and meet-the-breed booths.

"Owners bring their dogs and are very proud of them," Hyden said. This event is free for spectators who don't own dogs.

Over the summer there will be a recreation team for people ages 6 to 18. Coaches will start evaluating possible team members, and can take 110 people. The team will compete with other cities around the Valley and also participate in the Grand Canyon State Games. Past experience is recommended in order to join the team, and anyone interested in joining can contact the center in order to find the qualifications for the team.

The center will also be starting a women's doubles league in tennis, which will cost $40 for non-members and is free for tennis members. Prior experience isn't required, but "there will be competitive ladies who can get feisty," Special Events Coordinator Lisa Robinson said.

Swim coach Julyann Hill is currently teaching a new triathlon swimming and endurance class, which is open to adults of all ages.

"This class has more experienced members," Hill said. "They are aspiring triathletes and distance swimmers."

Hill and four of her students are planning to compete in "Cure for the Cause," which will be a shorter swim with a distance of 400 meters. Proceeds from this event will benefit those with breast cancer. The group is also planning to participate in an "Open Water Swim Series," where they will have to swim 1,000 meters during a multiple triathlon. Hill is also planning to take four other students, which include her husband, to compete in the Alcatraz swim during June. The four of them plan to train for the Iron Man in November as well.

For those who lack competitive swimming experience, Hill also teaches a class for adult swimmers. She will be teaching a stroke technique class for adult beginners, which will take place every Monday and Wednesday for the month of April. Hill is the aquatics coordinator of the community center and has been working there for nine years. As a swim coach, Hill hopes more members of the community will come to the center in order to improve their swimming skills.

"I teach the right swim techniques and this class will make it easier (for students)," Hill said.

In the past, the park has had many family-orientated events such as the annual Fourth of July event where families can listen to live bands and the Haunted House in October for kids and adults to enjoy.

"All events are for families to come out to have a nice afternoon or evening together," Hyden said.

The center also has meeting rooms, a park and other rental areas for special events, including weddings.

"Someone celebrated her 18th birthday at one of our armadas two weeks ago," Robinson said.

"I think that (we are family oriented) and the staff helps make people feel more welcome, and gives personal attention, which makes it less like a workout facility," Hyden added. "We have many successful, yet good, programs and a friendly atmosphere."

The Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center, 4700 E. Warner Road, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday; and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Anyone interested in special events or classes can call (480)-893-3431 or e-mail


• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Anna Carlos is a senior at Xavier College Preparatory and plans to attend the University of Arizona next year. She is interning this semester at the Ahwatukee Foothills News.

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