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Lauren Acker

Lauren Acker

Lauren Acker has not set their biography yet

Rocky Mount, Va. (APRIL 9, 2019) – This past Saturday, April 6th, the Franklin County Family YMCA hosted an event at its Ferrum College YMCA location. The “car smash” event raised funds for the National Safety Council’s Survivor Advocate Program and brought awareness to preventing distracted driving accidents.

Two wrecked vehicles were on display in front of the Ferrum College YMCA for the week leading up to the event with painted messages like “Stay Alive, Just Drive.” An estimated 3,200 people die annually as a result of distracted driving with many more thousands sustaining injuries according to the CDC. At the event students on campus, Y staff and community members could hit the cars with a sledge hammer by making a donation to the Advocate Program that helps surviving family members after a fatal accident.

“People have no idea how dangerous distracted driving can be. So we thought this was a fun way the Y could help raise awareness,” says Victoria Brown Ferrum Branch Director and organizer for the event.

A pledge was also circulated that required the signer to avoid distracted driving. Over 70 Ferrum students signed the pledge which will continue to be available to sign in the coming week. Also in attendance were “CHILL” students from Franklin County High School. “CHILL” is a student group that encourages youth to avoid dangerous behavior with drugs and alcohol.

The high school students set up a demonstration that encouraged students to not drive while impaired by alcohol. “We’re really proud of the Ferrum Community for coming out and supporting this event. We also couldn’t have done it without Danny Lynch towing and setting up the cars and for Chris and Tammy Mather donating them,” says Brown.

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 Rocky Mount, Va. (APRIL 2, 2019) – This past Saturday, March 30th, the Franklin County Family YMCA hosted a fundraiser at its Smith Mountain Lake Location. The “Show of Shows” event featured local talented musicians including the Star City Swagg Jazz Quartet, Star City Squeeze Accordions, Jazz Guitarist Bill Hoffman, Ernie Freeman Latin Trumpet, Parrot Pan Band, Toucan Pan Band, Island Pan Band and the Aloha Ukulele Ensemble.

“The talent on display was amazing and all for a great cause,” says Lauren Acker Branch Director at the YMCA’s Smith Mountain Lake Location.

The event, in its fourth year, had well over 200 attendees who enjoyed sing-a-longs, dancing, snacks and an evening of fellowship. Proceeds from the event are used to fulfill the Y’s charitable mission work in Franklin County which benefits youth, adults, families and seniors in Franklin County. The event was supported by not only attendees but by multiple volunteers who helped the evening go off without a hitch.

“Without this type of fundraising event, it would be impossible for the Y to fulfill our mission. That’s why it’s so great to see so many people from the community coming out to support the Y. The great musicians, volunteers and attendees made it a really special night,” says Acker.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (March 6, 2019) – This past weekend the Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide

swim team participated in the league’s championship meet. The meet was held over the course of three
days, at the Salem YMCA and had 12 teams competing against each other, with 321 individual
swimmers. Franklin County, despite being one of the smaller teams at the meet with 29 swimmers, took
third place overall for the weekend with many swimmers making their best times for the season.


"This year was the first time the team has finished in the top three. We placed third and that is a major
accomplishment for us. We had to outperform teams that had more swimmers than us. We saw some
major time improvements at this championship swim meet. This is by far the best champs we have gone
to. The kids on the Riptide swim team have been working hard this season and it really showed at
champs. We even had two swimmers make regional qualifying times for the first time. I could not be
more proud of the Riptide swimmers. I am excited to see what the future holds because every year we
get better and faster," said Head Coach JT Boyd.


Next weekend is the Upper Southeast YMCA Regional swim meet in which all kids who have made
regional qualifying times from the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina will compete.
The Riptide swim team has 7 kids attending the meet this year. Landon Akers, Mallorie Teer, Gabe
Lester, Maddox Conley, Brayden Shirley, Grayson Altice, and Josie Gilley will be representing Franklin
County in Duncan, South Carolina.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 12, 2018) – The Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide Swim Team hosted its annual invitational swim meet, the Splash Between the Lakes, this past Saturday 12/8/18. This year’s event was themed “The Race for the Golden Duck.” Over 200 swimmers from Y’s across the region including Alleghany, Altavista, Bedford, Danville, Roanoke, South Boston, South Side Farmville, Pulaski and Martinsville.

Competition was fierce to win the coveted “Golden Duck” first place team trophy. Individual swimmers won themed rubber ducks for victory in their respective races. Franklin County rose to the challenge and posted some of their best swim times winning enough points to bring home the “Golden Duck.”

“It was great to see our swimmers’ hard work paying off this weekend. Not only did they swim exceptionally well, they also stepped up as leaders and team mates,” says JT Boyd the Riptide’s Head Coach.

Boyd goes on to say “We would like to thank the members of the National Honor Society and the members of the FCHS swim team that came out and volunteered as timers for the meet. It wouldn’t have been possible without our parents, swimmers and volunteers!”

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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 5, 2018) –The Franklin County Family YMCA organized a coat drive during the month of November to help county residents stay warm this winter season. The Y offered a free guest pass to use its facilities in Franklin County to anyone who brought in winter clothing. The Y in addition to its mission work, like its swim programs, youth development programs, child care and senior programs also hosts blood drives, food drives, coat drives and much more.

“Our members and staff are so amazing and generous.  The Y as an organization works every day to make Franklin County a stronger community. So giving everyone a chance to help their neighbor made a lot of sense and it gives the donor a chance to visit the Y and improve their health. It’s a real win-win,” says Jessica Thomason the Y’s Membership Director who organized the effort.

The Y members and staff brought in 91 coats (20 children and 71 adult), 14 scarfs, 52 hats, and 26 gloves from its three locations in Rocky Mount, Smith Mountain Lake and Ferrum. The coats will be distributed to help children and seniors throughout the area.

“I’m really proud of the impact that this will make in the community. It’s so important for us all to work together to make a difference,” says Thomason.

 

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Amber Toomey,Nutritional Advisor/ Personal Trainer

 

Amber holds her Bachelors degree of Science in Health and Wellness. In addition, she is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Miss Toomey is a wellness professional who is dedicated to assisting others reach their optimal wellness. She possesses an enthusiastic passion to help her clients understand the importance and benefit of balanced nutrition and exercise. She is trained both traditional and experientially in health education, exercise science, and mind-body connection. Amber has worked with clients of all ages and demographics and has helped individuals with weight related issues, hypertension, type II diabetes, autoimmune disease, food sensitivities, and more.

 

“I am thrilled to be joining the YMCA family and to be able to share my passion for wellness with its members and have the opportunity to reach the community. I am thankful to be given the opportunity to offer Nutritional Advising at the Franklin County YMCA locations and I am eager to bring much needed nutrition education to the area as well as personal training. My goal is to help individuals excel in all areas of wellness and reach optimal health with personalized fitness and nutrition programs.”

 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (November 8, 2018) - The Franklin County YMCA Riptide swim team hosted its first home meet of the season on November 3rd, 2018. The YMCAs who were among the participants were Altavista YMCA, Bedford YMCA, and Southside YMCA. The FCFY Riptide swimmers took first place for the boys, girls and combined categories.

Several swimmers improved in all 3 individual events that they competed in. Team coaches announced this year’s team captains at the beginning of the home meet and those captains are Age Group Elite swimmer Gabe Lester, Senior Elite swimmer Alec Dow, Senior Elite swimmer Mallorie Teer and Senior Elite swimmer Allison Teer.

“The team captains play an important role for the Riptide swim team and I think this year’s captains will do a great job. They were all a tremendous help at our first home meet. Guiding new swimmers where to go, cheering on the team, being great role models and representatives of what it means to be a Riptide swimmer. I am very proud of the captains and am very excited to watch them grow into the great leaders I know they can be.” said Head Coach JT Boyd.

These meets would be impossible without the parents and community members who volunteer their time. The Franklin County YMCA Riptide swim team is hosting a big invitational on Saturday December 8, 2018 and invites all community members to come and watch or help support your local YMCA kids!

All YMCA members age 5 to 21 can participate and are welcome try out any scheduled practice day. You can get more information on this and other programs at the Franklin County Family YMCA!

 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (August 1, 2018) – The Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide swim team hosted an “end of summer” swim meet this past Friday night. Altavista, Danville, and Eden YMCA swimmers came and joined in the fun. The lights were dimmed and 100’s of glow sticks lit up the pool area and even the pool itself. The swim meet started out around 10:00pm. Participants got creative and made things from necklaces, bracelets, crowns, and chain links to wear while swimming.


“The whole night was filled with smiles and laughter. The kids, lifeguards, coaches and parents had a really great time, and I am glad we could host such a fun meet for the teams,” said Riptide Head Coach JT Boyd


The YMCA Riptide swim team competes regionally and averages around 40 swimmers. The Y team is great for children who want to develop their swim skills or want to be a little more competitive. Swimmers that have participated in the program have gone on to swim at the high school and collegiate level.


“The Y is grateful for all the volunteer parents that helped with the meet on Friday and we are proud of what Y swimmers have accomplished this year and are excited to see what the future holds for them!” says Kameron Kitts Aquatics Director

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By: Andrew McClung with Virginia First

MONETA, Va. (July 18, 2018) - When you think of basketball camp, you think of shooting hoops, and perfecting your skills. Probably not of Indianapolis Colts head coach, Frank Reich. 

Reich is a new resident to Smith Mountain Lake, and he says the way he got to camp wasn't very typical.

"Actually just getting gas on a jet ski on the lake and was asked by the owner of the marina, who I've become friends with, to come over here today," Reich said.

It was someone campers were excited to hear from.

"It was really cool to meet a head coach of an NFL team," said camper Isaiah Keep.

"It was pretty cool you know, have a guy who just won the super bowl, and now just got hired as a head coach in the NFL," said camper Thomas Dean.

Reich had a simple message for the camp.

"Really about setting your eye on the prize. Having a clear goal in life, striving towards that goal, surrounding yourself with teammates, who will help and can work together towards that goal, talked about that in life in general, but then we also talked about that in our Christian life. What that means as a Christian, to keep our eyes on Christ, to keep focused on him and so we were able to tie those two together today," Reich said.

Even though Reich is a football coach, his message was still relatable to campers.

"He made it relevant to us, he had a couple of basketball stories that he put in," Dean said.

Coach loved being there as much as the kids loved having him.

"As a guy who was very involved in sports as a player and a coach, it's fun to come over and give back, just kinda share a few of the life lessons that you learn over the years. And then obviously this camp was able to share the Christian testimony side of things on how that has played into my life over the years. So that was a lot of fun to be able to do," said Reich

For the entire interview click here

 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (July 23, 2018) – The Franklin County Family YMCA announced today that they have appointed a new Wellness Director for the organization. Kristina Palmer has worked for the Y, for around a year, as a fitness adviser and group exercise instructor. She takes on her new role with not only a fitness background but with strong experience in leadership and business.


“Kristina brings a lot of great ideas and skills to the table. We are excited to see everything she accomplishes for our members in the coming years,” says Kevin McAlexander CEO of the YMCA.


Kristina lives in the area with her husband Jason and children Gavin, Sage, Mia, Corbin and Caden. The YMCA is home to over 5,000 members and serves not only as a location for fitness and aquatics but focuses on mission based programming that improves the lives of seniors, children, veterans and families in Franklin County.

“I’m extremely honored to accept this position and excited to bring positive change to our YMCA! Even though I am not native to Franklin County, I consider this place my home and want to make a difference in our area. I hope to introduce new programs and ideas to our facility that will positively impact the community. The YMCA is the backbone to our county, and my plan is to increase support to members’ health and wellness needs. I am ecstatic to be a part of this growth!” says Kristina.

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Rocky Mount, Va. (July 18, 2018) – The Franklin County Family YMCA announced today that American National bank has continued its support of Y-Splash, the Y’s second grade swim program. All public school second graders are taught essential lifesaving swim skills over the course of the two week class. The program is vital because it gives all children a chance to develop swim skills, instills a love of swimming in young people, and teaches best practices for safety around water.


“The program costs over $30,000 annually to implement so it is essential for community minded businesses and individuals to provide support. It’s a great example of Franklin County coming together to support our kids,” says Aquatics Director Kameron Kitts.


Y-Splash is going into its fifth year this fall and has taught over 2,000 students since beginning. Instruction in the program centers on teaching basic water safety and swim skills. The goal is to teach all children enrolled to be able to prevent water emergencies and how to save themselves if they do occur. However, for children who already know how to swim, they learn to perfect their technique and develop knowledge of Olympic swimming strokes. So the program meets swimmers at their level.


“As far as I’m concerned if we can save one child, it’s worth it,” says Todd Hammock, Market President with American National Bank.
Classes start on August 13th and anyone who wants to support the program can contact Kameron Kitts at the Franklin County Family YMCA at 540-489-9622 or visit the Y’s website.

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Smith Mountain Lake, Va. (June 15, 2018) –The Westlake golf course and grille has partnered with the Smith Mountain Lake YMCA to offer water aerobics classes to the lake community. Classes are being offered at The Westlake’s outdoor pool through the summer on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

“The Y as a community-based organization thrives when local businesses, such as The Willard Companies, are willing to combine resources to not only offer programs to community members but to add value for our current members,” says Lauren Acker, Smith Mountain Lake YMCA Branch Director.

Water aerobics instructors Becky Rowe teaching Wednesday and Emilee Hall teaching Monday and Friday bring a plethora of experience and enthusiasm to these weekly classes. “The class includes cardio conditioning, muscle toning and flexibility.  Emilee and I are both certified yoga teachers so every class promises to incorporate some of the principles of yoga. More importantly it is a fitness program that is FUN! Good music is a must and meeting new friends is guaranteed,” says Becky Rowe, YMCA Fitness Instructor.

Water exercise offers a deluge of benefits. Exercising in water builds cardiovascular stamina, strength, and flexibility, helps burn body fat, increases circulation, and can help rehabilitate healing muscles and joints. Members of The Westlake and YMCA can attend classes for free. Guests can attend for an $8 fee per class. As popularity has increased, discussions about adding evening classes have been started.

"The Willard Companies and the Y have been partnering for years with Oktoberfest, a festival and 5k run held at Westlake Towne Center, and we were excited at the opportunity to expand on that partnership. We're working together to explore other ways we can enrich the community with new programs, specifically for youth, and there is a wealth of potential," says Gretchen Tipps, Marketing Director for The Willard Companies.

For more information about the water aerobics classes or membership call the Smith Mountain Lake YMCA at (540)721-9622 or The Westlake at (540)721-3845.

 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (June 12, 2018) – The Franklin County Family YMCA’s summer camp put the rubber to the road with its racing themed week. The camp which has around 200 hundred registered participants each week has unique themes for every week of camp.

“It’s a way to give the campers a really special and unique experience every week,” says Jamie Stump the Camp’s Director.

For last week the theme was “Start Your Engines,” a race themed week which saw huge community support. The week included race themed activities like building and decorating their own cardboard racers, visiting the Zone’s go cart track, and taking the checkered flag with a visit to Callaway speedway and seeing real race cars.

Whitey Taylor and Randy Pettitt of the speedway, invited the camp out to learn all about the history of racing in Franklin County. Scott Foley of Foley's Automotive and Brad Foy from Duncan Automotive came out and showed the children their race cars and taught them the in's and out of the car and talked about what it is like to be a driver.

“We sure are grateful to everyone who helped make a special memory for all our campers,” says Stump.

 

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SML Tennis Gets Kids Moving at Smith Mountain Lake

Charlottesville, Virginia (5/7/2018) – QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia, Inc. (QCV) is pleased to report that SML Tennis has started its outreach program to elementary schools around Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford and Franklin counties. Chesley Wilkerson, founder of SML Tennis, recently spent all day at Moneta Elementary School teaching tennis during PE classes to kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Chesley says, “I taught gym class all day April 30th to grades k-5. Each class ranged from 17 to 24 students! Kids learned footwork, ball control and hand-eye coordination through different drills and games, using red foam balls. By the end of each 40-minute class, most kids were able to rally back and forth with each other. Tons of fun! We hope to attract these kids to the Smith Mountain Lake YMCA for some out-of-school programming. SML Tennis is offering red, orange and green ball clinics there four days a week.”


Lynda Harrill, QuickStart Tennis Coordinator, adds, “We love finding people like Chesley in the counties we serve. She has the passion and drive to help us grow tennis. It is so awesome to have a tennis instructor work with PE teachers to get tennis going in a community. Many thanks to Caitlyn Moore, PE teacher at Moneta Elementary, for welcoming Chesley to her classes. Building a tennis pathway for kids starts in PE. Building a tennis tradition in a community takes partnerships like that.” 

QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia is an all-volunteer, grassroots Community Tennis Association established in 2009 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to promote, develop and grow QuickStart Tennis in the heart of Virginia for all beginners, especially underserved youth, using the kid-sized QuickStart Tennis format. QCV’s service area includes Albemarle, Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Fluvanna, Franklin, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Louisa, Lunenburg, Madison, Mecklenburg, Nelson, Nottoway, Orange, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Powhatan and Rappahannock counties and the

cities of Charlottesville, Danville and Martinsville. We currently serve 207 schools with more than 95,000 kids, 15 parks & recreation departments, three Boys & Girls Clubs and three YMCAs in our service area of 27 counties and three independent cities. We have also gotten tennis into PE classes in 36 additional schools with 15,000 students in communities outside our service area.

Visit QCV at: www.quickstartcentral.org and on Facebook.
For additional information, contact quickstartcentral@comcast.net

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Charlottesville, Virginia (4/4/2018) – QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia, Inc. (QCV) is pleased to report QCV has made an equipment grant to the Smith Mountain Lake YMCA in Franklin County. Funding for this grant was made possible by the Richard & Caroline Gwathmey Memorial Trust. The equipment will be used for classes at the YMCA and for the Y’s community outreach to nearby schools in both Franklin and Bedford counties. Chesley Wilkerson is the tennis instructor for the YMCA, which is located in Moneta, VA and has two indoor tennis courts.

YMCA Branch Director Lauren Acker says, “Making the QuickStart Tennis program available to youth in our area is incredibly exciting. With support from QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia and enthusiasm from Chesley Wilkerson, USPTA certified coach, I know this program will thrive in the community.”

QCV QuickStart Coordinator Lynda Harrill adds, “It is a pleasure to work with individuals who understand how beneficial learning to play tennis is for kids. It also helps when stars align as they did in this case. We were looking to get afterschool and out-of-school tennis programming going in Franklin County and the Y had just started a new youth tennis program and wanted to add community outreach. Through community partnerships with people like Lauren and Chesley, we can get a racquet in every hand and put a smile on every face. That is what QuickStart Tennis is all about.”

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Rocky Mount, Va. (December 29, 2017) – The Franklin County Family YMCA is combating hunger this holiday season through unique food drive programs.

This year at its 8 before and after school sites the Y held food drives for the “backpack” food program. The backpack program sends home food with students who may not have food security in their home during weekends and holidays.  Each of the Y’s sites competed against the other to see who could bring in the most food. The site which brought in the most food won an ice cream party for the students at that site. This is the second year the Y has held the competition between sites, overall the program brought in enough food to stuff around 250 bags. This year’s winner Dudley Elementary school brought in 1,400 individual food items for the drive.

“It’s a part of the Y’s mission work to do as much as we can for the community. It also gives our after school kids a chance to learn about helping others and giving back,” says Jamie Stump who is coordinating the effort at the YMCA.

The Y will also be raising food donations in the new year through a unique membership promotion. The Y will waive the joining fee on all memberships with the minimum of one canned good donation that goes to a local food pantry. The “can your joining fee” special is set to run through the end of January across all three YMCA locations in Rocky Mount, Ferrum and Smith Mountain. This will be the Franklin County Y’s first time offering the special and they hope to raise at least a 1,000 cans of food during the drive.

“Most wellness places offer some incentive to join this time of year but I think by directly helping others it shows how the Y is a little different. You can make a new year’s resolution anywhere but the Y’s mission is not only creating healthier members but a stronger community!” says Jessica Thomason Membership Director at the Y. 

 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (November 3, 2017) – The Smith Mountain Lake YMCA announced today that it now offers the Y’s ScriptFit, a doctor referred exercise program. ScriptFit is a comprehensive approach to wellness built on accurate health assessments, one-on-one sessions with a certified trainer along with motivation and support. It is now available at the Y’s SML location in the Lakewatch Plantation.

Previously the program had been available at the Y’s Rocky Mount location and saw exceptional results among its participants. The program works with doctors and their patients to build a personalized exercise program to improve the overall health of the participant and address specific concerns including chronic conditions, stability, balance, muscle density and weight loss. Members who have participated have seen weight and fat loss, including significant reductions in visceral fat. One participant saw a 20 point reduction in her blood pressure from 200/140 and is now 160/90. The Y has recruited Sallie Cappellari to be lead trainer for the program. Sallie is IFTA and ACE certified and has previously taught bootcamp classes, cardio kickboxing and Yoga Classes. She is a familiar face at the SML Y and longtime member.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of an innovative program like ScriptFit. This is just one example of how the YMCA positively impacts, not just its members, but the community as a whole. By partnering with our local doctors we are in a unique position to provide individualized care to meet the special needs of our participants,” says ScriptFit lead trainer Sallie Cappellari.

In the coming month the Y will also be bringing a Parkinson relief program to its Smith Mountain Lake location. The program is a part of ScriptFit and uses non-contact boxing drills and footwork to increase coordination and get Parkinson patient’s moving and elevating their heart rate.

“We know that our members are going to love being able to work with a trainer, at a reduced rate, to address specific needs they may have to improve their health. Sallie is a great trainer and can really motivate her clients,” says Lauren Acker the SML YMCA’s Branch Director.

The Y will also be demoing the InBody machine during the month of November and offering free body composition scans to the community. The Inbody is a high tech body scanner that measures body fat percentages, muscle density, an accurate body weight, hydration level and calculates metabolic rate all in about a minute.

“We have ScriptFit, the Inbody, Y Weight our health and wellness challenge, Indoor Pickleball and lots of classes every week. Stop in and see us. The Y has a lot going on to keep our members active and healthy and we’d love to see you there,” says Acker. 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (November 7, 2017) – This past weekend the Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide swim team won its first home meet of the season. The Franklin County Y swam against teams from Danville, South Boston, Bedford and Altavista. Winning by a more than 80 point lead over the second place team from Danville.

“We’re off to a great start this year and are really excited about the season,” says J.T. Boyd the Y’s Head Swim Coach. 

 

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Rocky Mount, Va. (October 25, 2017) – This past weekendthe Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide swim team participated in the Lynchburg YMCA’s invitation and “virtual swim meet.” This first meet of the season had 11 Y team members who swam against not only multiple local teams but were entered into a national database with all Y teams in the country swimming over the same weekend. Out of the swimmers at the meet 28 personal records were set and the team overall cut over 200 seconds off their previous times. In addition, one swimmer made regional cut off times from this meet.

 

The Y team this year has over 50 registered participants which is an all-time high in participation in more than a decade at the YMCA.

 

 

“The growth of our swim team has been great to watch and be a part of. We have some terrific swimmers this year and some dedicated volunteer coaches and parents. It’s going to be a great season,” says Kameron Kitts Aquatics Director with the YMCA.

 

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FERRUM YMCA HOSTS “CAR SMASH” FUNDRAISER
Rocky Mount, Va. (APRIL 9, 2019) – This past Saturday, April 6th, the Franklin County Family YMCA ho...
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YMCA EVENT DRAWS CROWD AT SML
 Rocky Mount, Va. (APRIL 2, 2019) – This past Saturday, March 30th, the Franklin County Family ...
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YMCA SWIM TEAM PLACES THIRD AT CHAMPIONSHIP MEET
Rocky Mount, Va. (March 6, 2019) – This past weekend the Franklin County Family YMCA Riptide swim t...
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