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Maine Masters Swim Club Raises Funds

by Phillippe Diederich

Maine Masters Swim Club held their second annual fundraiser on November 15th and raised $815 for swimming scholarships and equipment for a Portland, Maine area swimming pools.

The genesis of the fundraiser happened last year when swimmers and members of the Maine Masters Swim Club approached the city of Portland asking them to allocate funds to update equipment in the city’s three swimming pools. But because of the recent economic downturn, the city did not have enough revenue and was forced to turn down the request.

Son Nguyen, Portland swimmer’s workout groups coach Jeannette Strickland and other Maine Masters took matters into their own hands. They held a swim meet to raise funds to buy new gear for the pools. “All entry fee money was donated to the city and the city bought equipment for all the community pools,” Nguyen says. During that first fundraiser members were able to raise just over $600.

For this year’s fundraiser the group decided to include a clinic before the start of the meet. The event was a big success. Over 50 USMS members from around New England participated in the meet, which included sprint and distance events for all age groups.

The entire event was organized and run by volunteers. “The officials, timers, concession stands, computer operators, all volunteered in order to raise the maximum amount of money,” Nguyen says.

One of the goals of this year’s fundraiser was to create a scholarship for people in the community who cannot afford swimming lessons.

Nguyen and his two assistants, Colleen Lapage and Manuel Sone, were invited to a city council meeting on January 4th where they presented a check to Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones, Jr.

With the second annual fundraiser a big success, and the popularity of swimming in Portland continuing to grow, Nguyen is already looking forward to this year’s fundraiser. He says he does not know what it will be or what they will do, but whatever it is, the proceeds will go to support swimming programs for the entire community.

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