Every second, and millisecond, matters to Sequim’s competitive swimmers.
That’s why a group of locals, led by members of the Sequim High School Girls Swim Team Booster Club, are fundraising for an aquatic timing system at the Sequim YMCA.
Swimmers and community members started fundraising about a month ago going business-to-business and campaigning online through GoFundMe. So far they’ve raised about $6,000 of their $25,000 goal, says Michelle Govertsen, a girls swim team parent and booster club member.
Fundraiser organizers say the system reduces human error by using an underwater touch pad from Colorado Timing Systems rather than stop watches.
Govertsen said the fundraiser is for six touch pads, software, installation, a starting computer and scoreboard with the Sequim Wolves’ logo.
Sequim High school swimmer Sydney Swanson says the system will ensure more accurate times for swimmers. The YMCA in Sequim is the only facility in the Olympic League without a touch pad system and uses only volunteers with stop watches.
“When another team comes to your pool and they are trying to qualify for districts and state times, and you don’t have a timing system ,it makes them frustrated and kind of scared,” Swanson said.
“They are relying on our pool and we don’t have an accurate timing system. That’s got to be kind of scary.”
Sonja Govertsen, another Sequim high school swimmer, said accuracy is key to quick races like the 50 freestyle.
“When you’re trying to get that state time, you really want that accuracy,” she said.
With electronic timing and a scoreboard, Sequim High swimmer Annie Armstrong says coaches and players can keep better track of split times to help relays and individuals in future races.
“It’s also extra motivation to see that time on the board,” she said.
“As a spectator, you just see the splashes of water but the timer makes the sport more enjoyable,” Michelle Govertsen said. “It’s like watching football. Seeing the score makes it that much more enjoyable rather than asking did lane three win or lane four win? That’s a big deal.”
The fundraiser has received moral support from many community organizations including the Port Townsend swim team, which uses Sequim for meets, and the Sequim YMCA’s Masters and youth swimming programs.
Sequim School administrators support the effort, Michelle Govertsen said, but they don’t have funds available for the system.
Gina Caliendo, YMCA marketing and communications specialist, said the YMCA will serve as as the sponsor and financial controller for the timing system effort and assist with grant writing if needed.
So donations will fall under the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s 501(c)3 umbrella and are tax deductible, Govertsen said.
Since the YMCA is conducting its annual campaign right now, it won’t actively campaign for the timing system until its campaign is complete so as not to confuse donors, Caliendo said.
Organizers for the timing system set a goal to obtain needed funds by mid-August, long before the high school girls’ first swim meet on Sept. 14.
For now, swimmers and supporters will continue to chip away at the total through various fundraisers including a Spring Market craft fair from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 22, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, in Sequim High School’s cafeteria. The market features 20-plus arts and craft vendors with proceeds benefiting the timing system.
For more information on the fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/swim-team-timing-system-equipment. To directly donate to the effort, contact Michelle Govertsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tracy Swanson at tracy@johnwayneswaterfront resort.com.
Donations also can be sent to “Sequim HS Swim Team Booster Club, P.O. Box 568, Carlsborg, WA 98324.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.