By Angie Baldelomar
Oberlin will host its first USA sanctioned swim meet in a long time – and the first for the city’s new pool – this Saturday.
Eight teams from the Northwest Kansas Swim League will compete, from Colorado, Holyoke, Burlington, Wray and Flagler, and from Kansas, Colby, Goodland, Oakley and host Oberlin.
The league holds five meets where the teams compete for placing. The top six finishers in each race are given points. Then comes the two-day league championship meet, where the top six swimmers in each age/gender division who have accumulated more points throughout the season are crowned the league winners and receive trophies for their accomplishments.
Oberlin Coach Stephanie Blau said that the meet is expected to have 400 swimmers, plus family and friends, who will spend a lot of money in the city. During the Oberlin City Council meeting Thursday night, she said that a couple of teams coming from Colorado have already booked motels for the Friday before the meet. Motor homes and vans are also expected.
Taking advantage of the significant number of people expected, Mrs. Blau said, the swim team is looking to get more clubs involved for fundraising. One of the board members, she said, had already contacted some clubs to see if they want to put in snow cones or popcorn machines. The gazebo will be used for concession stands.
The council agreed to put the bleachers from the ball park on the south side of the pool, by the football stadium, so that people can sit to watch the meet.
“Our league is ecstatic about this because we are ranked the No. 1 pool in our league for a meet,” Mrs. Blau said. “They love the fact that they can sit in the south side on the bleachers and watch and see everything, but yet they have that huge park in the north side to run and let the kids relax.”
A concern raised by the council was litter in the park and surrounding areas.
“No swim team leaves until the park is checked to make sure every piece of trash is picked up,” she replied.
The meet will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, she said, and the pool will be closed to regular swimming all day.
This story was published on the front page of The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on June 22, 2016.