The Palestine YMCA Piranhas Swim Team came home winners after competing in two East Texas Summer Swim League meets. The Piranhas won the small-team title and two of the team swimmers, Summer Hagan and Madison Crader, went on to achieve second place finishes at the All-Stars meet.
“This is the first time during my tenure as head coach of the Piranhas that we garnered enough points to win our category,” Piranhas head coach Katherine Newton said. “For the past eight years we have always had a few standouts, but now we are beginning to show some depth. I am very proud of our effort.”
In addition to giving her all at the swim meet and helping her team win second place in the 200 freestyle relay race, 16-year-old Piranhas swimmer, Serena Coker, is also focused on making a difference outside of the pool. She and a close friend, Chenoa Logan-Mason, were deeply affected and moved to action upon hearing about four children who died during a flood in April.
While it’s unclear whether the four children, ages 6-9, knew how to swim, the Palestine High School junior thinks if these children had a swimming background, there was a chance they could have swam to safety that night.
“It would have given them a fighting chance,” she said.
The two friends decided to form a Palestine Swim Initiative and raise money for those who may want to learn how to swim but do not have the money to pay for lessons.
More than 100 people signed up this summer for swim lessons, and the two high-school juniors would like to double that number.
Chenoa, who nearly drowned once, knows the importance.
“I think it is a skill every kid should learn.” Logan-Mason said. She added that no one is ever too old to learn how to swim. In fact, her grandmother learned how at the age of 33.
The high-schoolers plan to contact churches, businesses and organizations to try to raise money, so everyone will have a chance to learn how to swim. They are also making pamphlets they can place around town.
Click here for more information on the YMCA’s commitment to water safety and drowning prevention.