Swimming can now be a year-round sport for kids and collegiate level swimmers in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Arizona Gold Swimming is expanding its program to offer a year-round competitive swim team to athletes in Ahwatukee at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

“There are a lot of kids out here and not really any club programs,” said head coach Jerry Olszewski. “There’s a really good rec program at the Y but no real competitive program that takes kids to the next level, the state level or national level.”

Arizona Gold Swimming clubs accept kids as young as age 6 and coaches are prepared to take kids as far as they want to go whether it’s through the collegiate level or even the Olympics.

Practices in Ahwatukee will be coached by Ahwatukee Foothills resident Bowen Johnson, who has more than 20 years of coaching experience. Johnson has been a swimmer himself since he was young and learned much of what he knows through personal experience working alongside his dad, Ron Johnson, a former Olympic and Arizona State University coach. Bowen himself has coached at Arizona State University, Mountain Pointe High School, Sun Devil Aquatics and the Chandler YMCA Riptide. He still trains as a competitive Masters swimmer.

“I have a lot of connections in the area,” Johnson said. “I am excited to bring a competitive swim atmosphere back to a community which is so rich in talent.”

Johnson said his coaching philosophy is all about making sure the kids learn good technique and try hard, while still having fun. Olszewski said it’s a philosophy that all Arizona Gold coaches have.

“In swimming there are very few professionals,” he said. “What they learn in swimming are life lessons. It will take hard work, dedication, teamwork and all those things are qualities of a productive, working adult.”

The team will be held at the YMCA but a YMCA membership is not required to join. Members of Arizona Gold are also welcome to practice at any of Arizona Gold’s practices whether it is in Chandler, Scottsdale, Tempe or Ahwatukee.

The team will hold its first practice on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Because the program is year-round kids can join at any time. For more information, visit www.arizonagoldswimming.com or contact Jerry Olszewski at (480) 215-8247.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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