Lane 8 is a fundraiser to level the playing field for inner-city youth in the sport of swimming. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) provides a great opportunity for kids to compete, but not every kid can afford simple essentials such as proper swimsuits, goggles, or swim caps.
During my six year tenure with the CRC, I had the opportunity to not only work with the kids on a daily basis as a lifeguard or pool manger, I also had the privilege of coaching the swim team. I found the most frustrating part was lacking basic essentials to even complete a full one hour practice. The kids could only afford one suit for the summer and they were never fitness swimsuits. Also, they could never afford goggles or swim caps. Everyday I would lend them mine, but I only had so much to go around.
The worst part was attending meets and seeing all confidence built during the week quickly fade as they watched many of their competitors in matching suits, goggles, and caps. As many people know, confidence is the biggest driving force for any athlete in any discipline.
For now, the goal is to raise $1,000 to support five children under the age of 18 to compete for the 2014 swim season representing their home pool of Millvale. The long term goal is to have enough funds to have more swimmers with aid, not only at Millvale, but other pools across the city of Cincinnati.
Where does the money go?:
- Membership fees for the five selected athletes
- Basic competition suits for the athletes to wear during practice and meets
- Nice pair of goggles to last an entire season
- Multiple swim caps for each athlete to wear for practice and meets.
These are the basic necessities. Goals beyond this would include matching warm-ups or new swim caps for city finals.
Who are the athletes?
The five athletes are kids in the community hand selected by myself and employees of the recreation center. All athletes are selected based on portrayal of commitment and work ethic in other aspects of their lives. We feel the athletes and their parents will honor the blessing and really make the most of it.
Why Lane 8? The name Lane 8 stems from the idea that in the sport of swimming, the swimmer in lane 8 is the underdog of the race. This swimmer either had the slowest seed time, or had the slowest prelim time in a swim meet, thus giving them the worst odds of winning the race. Much like these kids, they are seen as underdogs by lacking the simple essentials for swimming. Despite the odds not being in their favor, this does not give the swimmer in lane 8 an excuse to give up. Even though they are not the favorite, they are still given a lane and that lane is not longer and no shorter than any other lane. One of the biggest goals for Lane 8 is to show these kids not everyone has the same odds of success, but you find a way and never pity yourself.
I hope you can help the Lane 8 Fund and watch these kids grow day by day.