BETHEL, Conn. -- Bethel sisters Olivia and Julia Herbert are taking the plunge to make a difference for their Mako Swim Team and their home pool at the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut in Brookfield.
The sisters have set up a fundraising page to help raise money for a big renovation project at the YMCA.
The online pledges support the girls as they participate with the Mako Swim Team in the 2016 Donna Ragatz Swim For The Y Swim-A-Thon. It will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut at 2 Huckleberry Hill Road, Brookfield.
Proceeds will go toward a new Youth Development and Aquatic Center building and a seasonal bubble enclosure that will allow for year-round use of the outdoor pool.
As part of the $2.6 million project, the bubble, which is removable, will be atop the pool from October through May. It is scheduled to be constructed in October 2017.
With limited pool space at the Brookfield Y, the swim team has been renting neighborhood pools to get in enough swim time, according to Tommy Herbert, Olivia and Julia's father.
"The team swims at the Dive Shop Aquatic Center in Brookfield and the Canterbury School's pool in New Milford, as well as at the indoor pool at the Y," he said.
"Having a large swim team, there is limited access for the community to swim in the pool," Herbert said. "The Y is trying to fit all of its swimmers into the indoor pool during after school and weekend hours. Having the bubble enclosure will be great for everyone on the team."
The 2016 Donna Ragatz Swim for the Y Swim-a-Thon is a tradition for the MAKO swim team, according to Herbert.
"This fundraiser is a fun way for my girls to participate in the future of their swim program and to actively be a part of its growth," Herbert said. "My girls have been on the swim team since they were 5 years old."
So far, the fundraising web page has raised over $1,300 of its $20,000 goal.
As part of this goal, all of the Mako swimmers are asked to raise $200 each. So far, Olivia and Julia have raised $50.
Olivia, who is in the sixth grade at Bethel Middle School, said she loves the Brookfield Y. "It's a family-friendly place. It really helps bring people together."
She said the members of the team work hard every day "to try and swim their hardest," she said. "Our team really deserves to have another outdoor pool to make it expand."
Julia, who is in the fifth grade at Johnson School in Bethel, said she has a lot of friends on the swim team. "It's a happy place. Everyone is supporting each other," she said. "They are cheering people on and giving people advice."
Her favorite part of the team are the meets because "you are so active with other people and it's fun," she said.
For more information on the Swim-A-Thon fundraiser, contact Julie Pryor-Bennett by calling 203-740-3432 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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