Call to Summer Dreamers from Coach Mark


Tomorrow night, Friday evening, July 24, all the Summer Dreamers in Swim & Water Polo are invited to a special swim session at the Hill District’s, indoor, Thelma Lovette YMCA. The new YMCA is on Centre Avenue, just up the hill five or six blocks from the Consol Energy Center – home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Adults are encouraged to accompany their youngsters. Everyone is going to need to find their own transportation to and from the Y – as this is an extra, optional show off session. But adults are encouraged to join us in the swim pool too. Bring your suits. Join in on the fun and fitness.

You can come any time after 5 pm. The building closes at 8 pm so we need to exit the pool before 7:40.

There is free parking on the streets around the Y and in a lot behind the building too. Plus, there is no charge for admission to the Y swim pool. The Y has been generous with pool time for the Friday night practices for our program on a year-round basis.

Next Friday is the Liberty Mile and getting together in town no a Friday night is good practice for the Liberty Mile too. Press #2 on your phone now for more on the Liberty Mile. Friday night will be our deadline for entering the Liberty Mile. So, come to the YMCA and bring your forms or fill them out while you are there.

The Thelma Lovette YMCA is at 2114 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. The Y’s phone # is (412) 315-0990.

The YMCA has a full fitness center, gym and 5-lane swim pool with a year-round age-group swim team that competes in the YMCA league. Getting your kids onto the Y’s swim team is something to explore.

If we get a good turnout to the YMCA, I could continue to host some monthly gatherings and swim practices at the YMCA a regular basis throughout the year. We’ll go to the YMCA this Friday, and again in two weeks, after Summer Dreamers ends – again on Fridays for the rest of the summer. Of course, on Friday, July 31, when we are doing the Liberty Mile, there will not be any swimming at the YMCA that week.

The YMCA has free wifi and we generally take some time on Fridays to use the tablets, take some photos, share our web sites info and digital badge efforts there too.

The GNC Liberty Mile is a one-mile running race that happens on the streets of Downtown on Friday night, July 31. We have about 100 of our Summer Dreamers and staff compete in the race and we’ve been doing this for the past four years. The Liberty Mile is an OPTIONAL event and everyone isn’t able to do the race. You have to sign up, have good behavior, of course, and have transportation HOME after the event. The kids that go to the event depart from school after lunch on a school bus.

Staff and athletes go to the Citiparks swim pool on the Northside, the Sue Murray Pool. We play aquatic games, get a pizza party at the pool, get our race numbers and gear up for the race.

If any guardians want to join us on the bus and throughout the day, talk to me, Coach Mark. We can reserve a space for you on the bus and you can accompany us to the events. Perhaps we can talk at the YMCA on Friday night.

We have a big team meeting and then hike in groups from the pool on the Northside to the starting line of the race around 6 pm. We run as fast as we can and after our race, we gather again to share our experiences and then turn to watch the professional runners. The women and men professional runners are lightening fast and it is a treat to cheer for them – and a couple of those professional runners generally come by our Summer Dreamers camp a day or two before the race to visit with our kids too.

After the professional race, we depart downtown in 2 ways. It is best to have our adults from home meet us at the swim pool in the afternoon or else meet us DOWNTOWN at the race, cheer us on, and then go home with your guardians. Traffic is always bad as the streets are closed for the race.

Summer Dreamers at Liberty Mile
Summer Dreamers at Liberty Mile

Our meeting place is at “TRIANGLE PARK” a tiny park that is just past the finish line of the race on the left side. It is on Liberty Ave and it is about a block away from Market Square. So, find us on the Liberty Avenue, closer to the end of town by the Point.

The Race Entry and the Homecoming Contract is has to be documented and with us before we can the student out of school on an early dismissal for the activities. We need to know who is going to pick-up the kids and how they’ll get home – otherwise, it is better to have them finish the school day like regular and take the normal school bus home at 4 pm. We do NOT want anyone stuck downtown without a ride. This has never happened. Thank you for planning ahead and communicating those plans with us.

About the author 


Swim, SKWIM and Water Polo coach and publisher in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Executive Director of SKWIM USA, a nonprofit advocate organization and webmaster to the International Swim Coaches Association. Head varsity and middle-school swim coach for The Ellis School. Former candidate for public office on multiple occasions.

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