The IRONMAN Foundation in partnership with the Freeman Family Foundation and Chattanooga Youth & Family Development is offering scholarships for free swim lessons and swim team membership in conjunction with the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship triathlon taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee on 9-10 September. Registration for free swim lessons and therapeutic recreation for swimmers aged three and above took place on Saturday 19 August from 10:30-12:00 at Warner Park Pool.
“My wife Gloria and I believe that this program is a great way for young people to learn how to swim,” said Darrell Freeman Sr, Chairman of the Freeman Family Foundation, a Chattanooga native and IRONMAN Foundation athlete. “I grew up swimming at Carver Center and Warner Park. Both places served as safe havens for me during my developmental years. To be able to partner with the IRONMAN Foundation to teach children how to swim brings my life full circle and shows that ‘Anything is Possible’.”
To commemorate the initiative, a special awards ceremony is planned for the participants on Wednesday 6 September, as part of race week at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Children will have the opportunity to meet and swim with IRONMAN athletes and receive medals for their participation in the program.
“It is important for our youth to learn basic swimming techniques so they can feel safe in the water,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “We want this experience to be fun and engaging but most of all we want them to learn a skill they can use for life and possibly save a life.”
In addition to free swim lessons, youth swimmers who wish to apply for scholarships to compete on their local swim teams, including the local Special Olympics Team, the Penguins, may contact Peggy Grall, Aquatic Coordinator for the City of Chattanooga via pgrall[at]chattanooga.gov.
“We are truly honoured to partner with the Freeman Family Foundation and Chattanooga Youth & Family Development to provide this opportunity to the youth of Chattanooga,” said Sarah Hartmann, Community Relations Manager for The IRONMAN Foundation. “Learning to swim is a life-changing event and it’s our goal to inspire a new generation to become lifelong athletes.”
The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund provides community and volunteerism grant opportunities to non-profit organizations where IRONMAN events are held. In 2017, The IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than US$126,000 to Chattanooga organizations and US$1.5 million in grant funding to support the needs of IRONMAN race communities across North America.