From The Newtown Bee, By Andy Hutchison
The Newtown Torpedoes youth swim program, sponsored by Newtown Parks & Recreation, held its second annual Swim-A-Thon at Newtown High School on January 31. Dozens of swimmers in three age groups – 8 and unders, 9-10-year-olds, and 11 and overs – combined to complete consecutive laps during the four-hour event at the Newtown High School pool.
Swimmers are raising money through donations and pledges for the Newtown Scholarship Association to support The Daniel Barden Newtown Torpedo Scholarship, as well as go toward present and future needs of the team.
The scholarship will be given every year to a graduating Newtown High School swimmer in memory of Daniel Barden, a Torpedoes teammate who died on 12/14. Money raised from this year’s Swim-A-Thon will also go toward the present and future needs of the team.
Student volunteers helped set up the lanes and track laps completed by the Torpedoes swimmers while cheering them on. Among those on hand to donate their time were Newtown High swimmers who came up through the Torpedoes program.
“It’s a good program and we wanted to help out because we started with the Torpedoes,” said Newtown High senior Eliza Eggleston.
The Torpedoes, Coached by Carl Fagerholm and Lisa Irving – both of whom ran the event once again – practice and compete throughout the winter. The postseason will unfold in February. On January 31, there was no competition – just the challenge of swimming lap after lap … after lap.
“Being here and helping out – it’s almost like going full circle,” said volunteer Kate Martinelli, adding that she was excited to see the progress of some of the up-and-coming athletes she gave swim lessons during past years.
“It’s very rewarding. It’s easy to do and it’s nice to give back,” said her sister, Amy Martinelli, also a Torpedoes alumna.
Akash Ahuja, a member of the Newtown boys’ swimming and diving team and volunteer, said at the beginning of the event that he was interested to see the skill and stamina of the young swimmers. “It’s a great cause,” he added.
If you would like to support the Newtown Torpedoes, online donations may be made through the Newtown Parks & Recreation home page. The Torpedoes are accepting donations through February 9. Last year, the team members swam more than 11,000 laps and collected $27,000.