Summer swimming is a growing sport in New Ipswich

A portion of the Breakers boy’s team prepares for a meet in 2023.

A portion of the Breakers boy’s team prepares for a meet in 2023. COURTESY PHOTO

Coach Felicity Howard, left, with swimmers Olivia Kutyla, Evalynn Howard, Oliva Klebes, McKayla Flannery and coach Jaylin Calistro during the 2023 season.

Coach Felicity Howard, left, with swimmers Olivia Kutyla, Evalynn Howard, Oliva Klebes, McKayla Flannery and coach Jaylin Calistro during the 2023 season. COURTESY PHOTO

Breakers swimmers Jackson Keating, Ryan Kutyla, Frankie Juvera and Liam Falter prepare for their events during the 2023 season.

Breakers swimmers Jackson Keating, Ryan Kutyla, Frankie Juvera and Liam Falter prepare for their events during the 2023 season. COURTESY PHOTO

Frankie Juvera holds up his heat-winner ribbon during a 2023 meet.

Frankie Juvera holds up his heat-winner ribbon during a 2023 meet. COURTESY PHOTO—

Christina Juvera, Olivia Kutyla, Felicity Howard (coach) and Olivia Klebes during a meet at the New Ipswich Town Pool.

Christina Juvera, Olivia Kutyla, Felicity Howard (coach) and Olivia Klebes during a meet at the New Ipswich Town Pool. COURTESY PHOTO

Olivia Kutyla, Evalynn Howard, Olivia Klebes and McKayla Flannery celebrate winning their heats. 

Olivia Kutyla, Evalynn Howard, Olivia Klebes and McKayla Flannery celebrate winning their heats.  COURTESY PHOTO—

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 07-02-2024 12:01 PM

This year’s New Ipswich town swim team members will have a chance to qualify for and compete at the state level, as the team has joined the Granite State Swim Association.

New Ipswich Pool Director Shawna Kutyla said the team, the Breakers, has been growing by leaps and bounds for the last three years, some years bringing in double the amount of swimmers as the previous year. Combined with Mascenic Regional High School restarting its competitive team, Kutyla said interest in summer swimming is at a level the town hasn’t seen in several years.

“We’re seeing a resurgence,” Kutyla said.

This year’s head coach is Jaylin Calistro, who has been swimming competitively since she was 10, including swimming for the Breakers from the time she was 10 until age 14.

“It’s important to have a summer sport, and get outside and get involved, rather than be cooped up inside,” Calistro said. “I’m excited at how the team’s grown. We’re getting better and better. It’s exciting to see them coming together.”

Kutyla said joining the Granite State Swim Association will open up additional competition opportunities to the team throughout the summer, and will allow those with qualifying times to participate in the state meet for the first time.

“We’re able to do more meets, and they’re learning a lot more, which helps if they want to be involved in year-round swimming, or are using swimming to condition for other sports,” Kutyla said. “This gives us more opportunities.”

Swim team is both a team and individual sport, explained Pool Coordinator Amy-Jo Falter. Placing in races earns the team points, which can result in an overall win, but for many of the athletes, they’re racing to beat their own best times, and now qualify for the state meet.

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The Breakers, like many recreation teams, is a coaching and teaching team, explained Kutyla. The only requirement to join is that a child must be able to swim at least 25 yards – from one end of the pool to the other – consistently. They do not need to know any strokes or have any competition experience.

The team’s practices, which are Monday through Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m., are broken into two segments. For the first hour, the team works with the (usually younger) members who are working on their stamina and learning the strokes. The second hour is for the more-experienced swimmers who are refining their strokes, with some overlap in the middle so that the younger swimmers might learn from their older counterparts.

“It’s like a summer family,” Kutyla said. “Of course, we want to do our best, but it is a different feeling from swimming competitively for your high school.”

Individual swimmers can participate in two relay events and two or three individual events, depending on the meet, Falter said. That results in long meets where often, there can be long wait times between a competitor’s events. The Breakers often spend those breaks cheering for and assisting their teammates, coaches said.

“I’m in awe with our older kids. Sometimes, we have younger kids that are scared or nervous, and they cheer them on. They all look out for each other,” Falter said.

The team accepts members at any time during the season. Those interested in signing up may still do so at the nird.recdesk.com website, or send email with any questions to pool@townofnewipswich.org or nitpbreakers@gmail.com. Costs are $75 to join for New Ipswich residents or $100 for a non-resident and $35 for a team suit. Costs include a Breakers T-shirt and swim cap. There is no lower age limit, as long as swimmers are able to complete a 25-yard swim, and the upper age limit is 18.

For swimmers who would like to improve endurance, the New Ipswich Town Pool offers an endurance class as part of its swim lesson curriculum, which is new this year.

Ashley Saari can be reache d at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgert ranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.