Iola has been the “host” team for an SEK Swim League Championship meet, but Saturday will be the first time Iola Swim Team holds the league championships in its own pool.
“We were the host team in 2003. We did all the paperwork, then took it down to Coffeyville for the meet,” said Kristy Sutherland, Iola Recreation activities assistant. “We’re excited about having the league meet here, giving us a chance to show off the new pool.”
There are 400 youth swimmers entered in the 2010 SEK League Championship Swim Meet here Saturday. Along with Iola are teams competing from Humboldt, Chanute, Independence, Coffeyville, Fort Scott, Cherryvale and Erie.
Gates to Iola Municipal Pool open at 6:30 Saturday morning. Designated warm-up sessions for teams go from 7:30-8:30 a.m., followed by a coaches meeting.
The first race of the day is at 9 a.m.
There are two sessions to the league meet. Swimmers 10 and under compete in the morning then 11-18-year old divisions are contested after a short break, at approximately 1 p.m.
Sutherland and Iola Recreation director Luke Bycroft have been preparing for Saturday’s meet since the end of 2009’s league swim meet.
“This is a great event for our community,” Bycroft said. “We believe we have a great swimming facility.”
Sutherland said when it was Iola’s turn to host in 2003, it could not host the league meet because the old swimming pool was too wide for true official league times.
“Now, the eight lanes are 25-yards long. We have the electronic touchpads,” Sutherland said. “We’re hoping that a couple of teams which don’t have a newer pool will want to host here — like we did at Coffeyville — as the league meet rotates.”
Bycroft pointed out the city pool now has two sets of starting block stands. The set on the west side of the pool were installed this year.
TEAM AREAS will be designated on the east and north sides of the pool area, outside the fence. The east gates near the slide will be open for swimmers to enter and exit as they compete.
The south gate will be open for spectators.
Bleachers for spectators will be near the zero-depth end of the pool at the south. More bleachers will be on the north end of the pool outside the fence.
There is no admission fee to watch the swim meet.
“We have canopies from the Iola National Guard and from the chamber of commerce to cover areas near
the pool,” Bycroft said. “It will be a hot day so every-
one is encouraged to prepare for their own comfort.”
Two concession stands will be open: One is located at the ball park and there will be a concession trailer.
Race heat sheets can be purchased to follow racing. There are also SEK Swim League Championships T-shirts for sale at the meet.
Swimmers placing first in their individual heat race are awarded a “heat winner” iron-on patch.
In A-Division races, medals are given to first through eighth place winners and ribbons for ninth to 16th place winners. In B-Division races, ribbons are awarded for first through eighth place.
Riverside Park will have limited access Saturday.
Bycroft said the immediate roads around the pool will be blocked off. Parking is available by the fairgrounds north of the Recreation Community Building and east of the ball park concession stand.
The south side access road into the park will be blocked off.
“The north side road that goes right in front of the football stadium is for two-way traffic as is the road that goes into the park area,” Bycroft said.
“People can still go to the park but will have to turn around and drive back out the same way.”