Swim coaches are ready for splashing season

Cheyenne Valade, left, is assistant coach, and Laci Powell is head coach for this year's John Day Swim Team. Both veterans of the team are excited to share the aquatic program with interested youth.

JOHN DAY – Laci Powell was disappointed last summer as the swim season drew to an end. It was her last year on the John Day Swim Team.

Although she won’t be competing this year, Powell will definitely be back at the pool. A veteran of nine years on the team, she is the new head coach.

Powell will be assisted by Cheyenne Valade, who spent 12 years on the team.

Both women are excited about the coming season, which begins June 13 as Gleason Pool activities get under way.

“We have a passion for swim team. It changed our lives in many ways,” said Powell. “We want to get more kids interested in the program and get excited about swimming again. We want to bring back that interest. Swim team definitely keeps you busy in the summer, and gives kids such good experiences.”

The women will talk about the importance of healthy lifestyles, as they support and encourage young swimmers.

Powell has just finished her freshman year at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. She’s aiming for a career in elementary education.

Valade, who spent her senior year of high school at McMinnville, graduating there and swimming competitively, attended two years at Lane Community College. Interested in a career in journalism, she recently moved to La Grande, and will attend EOU this fall.

For swim season, she’s back home.

“I’m so glad to be back,” said Valade, who also grew up in John Day.

Powell said she hopes that following college, she’ll be able to return to Grant County and teach.

Swim team is open to youth as young as 3, and up to 18, said Powell. “Swim team is a big family. It influenced us in so many good ways.”

Depending on skill level, youth may become “fishies” or be part of the main team.

Practice times – Monday through Fridays – will vary, depending on the swimmer’s level.

There will be two home meets this year. The John Day Swim Meet is July 23-24. This year, the team also hosts the District Meet, to be held July 30-31.

A sign-up event for the team was held May 24. Additional swimmers are welcome to register by calling Powell at 541-620-4427.

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