The Greater Joliet Area YMCA JETS Swim Team is excited to begin using newly installed starting blocks at the Galowich Family YMCA. These starting blocks were made possible through the generous support of Debbie and Warren Thomas, parents of JETS Head Coach Ashleigh Thomas.
Debbie said the idea to provide funding for the starting blocks first came to her after she attended the YMCA Gala in 2019.
“Every year we look for ways to give charitable donations and we asked Ashleigh if there were any particular needs at the Y,” Debbie said. “She mentioned that she was coaching some really competitive swimmers at the Galowich Y and there were no starting blocks. Ashleigh has been in swimming for a long time so we are well aware of the importance of having starting blocks, and we know it’s hard to train for races without them.”
Coach Thomas said that she was moved by the donation from her family and that the starting blocks represent a strong commitment to the Y’s historic swimming program.
“These blocks will have an impact on the JETS program by transforming the Galowich Family YMCA Pool to accommodate competitive swimmers in addition to bringing in new opportunities to our swim lesson program,” she said. “This equipment befits the talent and hard work of our JETS swimmers as they pursue their higher level and national swimming goals.”
The new starting blocks were installed earlier this month and come at a time when the JETS swim team is preparing for an exciting stretch of its competitive season.
“I can finally say that we have several meets on the horizon for the JETS,” Coach Thomas said. “We are currently competing in dual meet competitions, and we have our 2021 Illinois Y State Invitational coming up at the end of April. I think it’s a great way to transition our winter season into spring and keep our swimmers excited for the summer.”
Debbie said she and Warren are excited to finally see the project come to fruition.
“It was a long process to get everything approved, especially as the world was dealing with COVID, but it’s really nice to see the pictures of the starting blocks,” she said. “I know that Ashleigh is excited and all the kids are excited. I really hope they enjoy using them.”