YMCA of Snohomish County Adaptive Swim Team Offers Competition for All
EVERETT, WA. June 22, 2023 – The Mukilteo Family YMCA is home to the Stingrays Swim Team, an adaptive swim program that offers athletes with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn about swimming as a sport while having fun and making friends. The Stingrays just wrapped up their 2023 season by competing at the Washington State Special Olympics meet at the King County Aquatics Center.
“We are proud to be the home of the Stingrays and its amazing athletes,” said Carl Funnell, Senior Director, Mukilteo Family YMCA. “We welcome dozens of swimmers, families, and volunteers into the Y every week and love to help build this tight-knit swimming community.”
The Stingrays were originally an independent Edmonds-based Special Olympics team that worked out at the Y, renting the pool for its three-month season. In 2019, the Stingrays became a year-round YMCA of Snohomish County program. There is an influx of swimmers in the spring due to Special Olympics, but many athletes swim year-round. The program is for all ages with swimmers ranging from age 10 to adults.
“The minimum requirement to join the team is the ability to safely get from one side of the pool to the other (either swimming or walking) and the ability to follow directions,” said Funnell. “The team works well together and supports each other throughout the season. Our families report that it’s the highlight of their swimmer’s week. They look forward to coming to the pool every Saturday.”
The team practices once a week and uses the majority of the pool, serving 50-60 families. The Stingrays practice at the Mukilteo Y, but has swimmers from across Snohomish County. The program is fully-funded by scholarships and supported by volunteers. Volunteers assist with swim practice and also help run the state and regional Special Olympics meets.
Jim Toye has just completed his first season volunteering with the Stingrays by helping Coach Jim Russell set up work stations and assist kids in the water with learning swim strokes.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to give back to the community and help these wonderful kids in this small way,” said Toye. “The kids love to be in the pool and deserve the chance to compete and have fun.”
Coaching includes the YMCA values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility while working on physical training and stroke technique. The team encourages sportsmanship, as well as competition.
For more information about the Stingrays Swim Team, please visit ymca-snoco.org/swimming/programs/. Swimmers are required to be YMCA members to participate, but financial assistance is available.