PUHI — Tom Tannery and some of the board members of the YMCA of Kaua‘i were excited to see the First Hawaiian Bank delegation show up Tuesday.
“This is not the first time First Hawaiian Bank has helped us,” Tannery said, in accepting a $5,000 grant from the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation. “This money will support the first year of operation for the new pool so we can get new programs started.”
Tannery said First Hawaiian Bank had previously helped the YMCA during the construction of the building which took place prior to the construction of the pool.
“We’re appreciative that First Hawaiian Bank has the foresight to see our struggles,” Tannery said, adding that the challenges they have overcome in getting the pool completed have been “nice struggles.”
As the presentation was being done by Mike Murakoshi, senior vice president and regional manager of the Kaua‘i First Hawaiian Bank, and Kevin Murphy, a First Hawaiian Bank personal banker, members of the Swim Kaua‘i Aquatics program were going through its practices while younger children frolicked with their parents in the keiki, or instructional pool. Other YMCA members took advantage of the half of the Olympic-sized 50-meter pool to get in their daily swims.
“We have a dive club with about 30 members that meet twice a week,” Tannery said. “This is one of the new programs that we were mentioning that the First Hawaiian grant will help get off the ground.”
Tannery said they have the help of two volunteer coaches, Andre Johnson, a six-year veteran of diving at the Waimea Falls show on O‘ahu, and Scott Sinclair, a collegiate diver, who heads the diving club.
“I dive with my daughter, Cheyanne,” Tannery said. “And, I’m not alone. There are several parent-child teams that are learning some of the dives.”
Tannery said having the diving board is just one step towards Kaua‘i being able to qualify to host a state (high school) meet.
“There are dives the athletes must learn before they can even compete,” Tannery said. “It’s not an easy thing like having a board so we can do a state meet.”
Additionally, Tannery said they have initiated a water aerobics program six times a week because people asked for it.
Two volunteer instructors stepped forward and provide beginning and intermediate levels in two classes which meet six times a week.
Getting a water polo program started is next on the YMCA of Kaua‘i pool agenda, Tannery said.
In the meantime, Tannery said the staff at the new pool have already taught hundreds of people how to swim since the pool opened.
“That’s our main goal,” Tannery said. “We want people to learn how to swim. Once they know that, they can explore some of the other areas. But they need to learn how to swim first.”