A new club is making waves this year, inviting all students to come to the Recreation-Fitness Center to swim for exercise, fun and maybe even become better swimmers.

Although the swim club’s membership is small, club leaders Kolton Nay and Elizabeth Bryant, both first-years, hope to gain interest from all levels of swimmers.

“There are usually about 10 people at each practice,” Nay said. “Most of them swam in high school and wish to continue to get exercise and just enjoy the sport they love along with others who want to do the same.”

“However,” Nay added, “there is a rising number of beginners joining, and I am finding out that teaching people how to swim is one of the most enjoyable parts of this club. Many of the swimmers we have now were unable to swim anything but the ‘doggy paddle’ before they started and can now swim multiple strokes. The skill levels and attitudes of the members are diverse, but we swim and have fun together.”

Unlike other sports clubs at Goshen, such as intramural basketball, soccer and ultimate Frisbee, swimming is a low-impact sport, which is perfect for athletes with past or current injuries who might not be able to workout in the other RFC facilities.

“I swam a lot in middle and high school and really loved it,” Bryant said. “It was a fun way to exercise and spend time with friends. I hurt my knee a while ago and still can’t run very far.”

Aside from the exercise aspect of starting the club, Nay and Bryant both have a passion for swimming after participating on swim teams in high school.

“Swimming was a huge part of my life,” Nay said. “I counted on it for a creative outlet to release emotions and stay healthy through the winter months, when running and biking were much less appealing. When I came to Goshen College, I met numerous other people who felt the same way and we all missed having swimming as a part of our lives.”

And so the swim club began. While past swim clubs at Goshen fizzled out over time, Nay hopes to attract interest in the club and continue leading the group for the next four years with the assistance of Bryant.

“It’s still just getting started,” Bryant said. “Most people come to exercise and/or learn to swim. We try to keep it really informal [because] school and life in general can be time consuming.”

The practices take place after regular pool hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 2 p.m. The first two times attending the practice are free but regular attendees should expect a one-time $10 fee to help pay for the lifeguard.

The swim club missed the cut-off date for Student Senate sponsorship of club proposals, so Nay hopes that next year there will be little to no cost for members. Interested students are encouraged not to let the cost of membership defer them from attending.

Students are welcome to come and experience a practice for themselves at their leisure. While they generally keep the practice informal, Nay also has a set of warm-ups he teaches to the group.

“On a typical practice night, the members all sign in and proceed to the pool for a warm-up,” Nay said. “I make all of the workouts myself, based on what I remember from high school swim team and coming up with my own creative ways to have fun while we swim. I always start us out with a 200 yard warm-up (every length down the pool is 25 yards) and proceed with ‘drill sets’ for technique, ‘swim sets’ for regular aerobic exercise, ‘sprint sets’ designed to make us work really hard for a short time and occasionally a ‘crazy set’ which is a bunch of fun ways to swim that I come up with or hear from others. I make separate workouts for beginners, intermediate and veteran swimmers, that way no one feels pushed too hard.”

The swim club has a group page on Facebook called the Goshen College Swim Club where interested students can join to find regular updates regarding practice times, or as a way to get in contact with group leaders.

“Swimming is great because it is safe for the body, easy to learn, great exercise and super peaceful after it’s mastered,” said Nay.

“Swimming is often used as rehabilitation for injuries because there is no impact on joints to cause further harm and it works the cardiovascular system just as hard as running or other forms of exercise.”

Nay continued, “I’ve taught people to swim already in as little as four practices.”

“Once swimming becomes natural, it is a great way to be at peace, forget troubles for a little while and relieve stress. Everyone is welcome to come try it out.”

“You never realize how much being a part of a team or club helps you commit to exercise until you’re in one. Everyone is encouraged to swim at his or her own pace and we all support each other.”