Just Keep Swimming
Splash Cats, Inc.
Splash Cats, Inc. was formed in 2004 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 to support Washington High School (WHS) Swim and Dive team, to promote the sport and lessen the financial burden on the swim and dive families and the already limited budget of the Aquatic Center. The organization’s mission is to increase the health, water safety, and the aquatic education of Escambia County students, employees, and community members. Programs supported by Splash Cats, Inc. include making the Washington Aquatic Center open to 1,800 WHS students during the school day; offering a free elementary swim and dive program to over 19,000 elementary school students in 33 local elementary schools; a middle school swim and dive program open to over 9,000 middle school students in 11 local middle schools; a high school swim and dive program open to over 11,000 high school students in 7 local high schools; a wellness program opportunity for over 5,000 Escambia County School District employees; low cost summer swim and dive team for students ages 5-19; summer Special Olympic training and end of summer competition site; area wide lifeguard training; Autism Pensacola summer day camp use; free day care center swimming lessons; supplemental exercise programs for track, football, and baseball programs; and robotics training for area schools participating in underwater robotics.
The “Just Keep Swimming” project guarantees that students, employees, and community members will be able to continue to use the Washington Aquatic Center as a place to learn about water safety, work on fitness, and compete in water related activities. The WHS pool is an indoor six-lane, 25-yard rectangular competition pool with a handicap ramp to allow access for the physically impaired. The pool was last resurfaced in 1998 and has outlasted the average lifespan of ten years for indoor pool resurfacing. IMPACT 100 grant funds will be used for draining the pool for a complete resurfacing project. Loose plaster and/or hollow spots will be chipped out and removed allowing for a smooth re-plaster of the pool shell. Pool lights will be removed and replaced with LED lights. Two teaching platforms, five additional showers in the girls’ locker room, a Suitmate to dry the girls’ suits to prevent water damage from wet swimsuits and seven new lane lines to help decrease the waves created during practices and competitions will also be purchased and the original yellow tiles on the wall will be sandblasted and re-glazed with a brighter color allowing for an updated look.
Annually, over 40,000 Escambia County school district students, employees and community members have the opportunity to utilize this facility. By providing a nicer facility in which high school and middle school students in our area can practice and compete, an increase in the number of students that participate is expected. Local elementary aged children will have access to a safer and cleaner pool in which to learn basic swimming and diving techniques for free. An already successful Water and Youth Safety Day program will be expanded. Upon the completion of this project, more students will be attracted to the sport of swimming and diving, therefore increasing the activity level of more children in our area. Summer programs will be expanded to reach more children living in poverty that may not have the opportunity to be taught by a certified instructor. Daycare centers will be targeted in the summer to expose more young children to water at an early age. Through this project, Splash Cats, Inc. plans to get students, employees, and community members in the pool moving, and away from the digital world.