Holmes School’s Go Tri Foundation Sends Over 50 Children to Learn to Swim at the New Britain YMCA

Holmes School’s Go Tri foundation had a great start to the 2017/2018 school year. The foundation’s focus is to provide swimming lessons for non and beginner swimmers who attend Holmes School. Go Tri is pleased to be sending over 50 kindergarten and 1st grade students to the YMCA in New Britain over the 2017/2018 school year. These students will learn how to swim and become safer in the water. Students receive 8 free lessons through the Go Tri foundation, created by 1st grade teacher Mrs. Kirsty Naples. Mrs.Naples, along with Holmes teacher Gene Riotte and new Go Tri team member, Holmes 2nd grade teacher Jesse Hurlburt, compete in a triathlon each June to help the fundraising efforts. Mr. Hurlburt takes over from Mike Libby who has done a great job for 3 years training and preparing for the hilly half marathon.This year, with many local donations, they were able to provide over 50 students with the chance to learn to swim.

The rise of accidental drownings in pools and lakes within the under 10 age group has increased dramatically over the past few years. Ashley Jordan, director of Aquatics at the YMCA knows how important water safety is. “The younger we can teach them, the safer they will be.” Students learn the fundamentals of water safety and beginning stroke technique that will allow them to be safe in the water. Having fun and staying fit while learning is always a great part of swimming, too. Mrs. Naples, an ex national swimmer in the UK, and current US Masters age group swimmer and triathlete, would like to see all younger swimmers be able to learn to swim through the foundation.

“Learning to swim is an essential life skill, given that most families spend much of their summer time near or around water. Signing up for swim lessons is not always a top priority in a busy family life. This is especially true for the many students we serve who live in poverty. Even with our own twin girls, we found ourselves saying next month, winter, or summer. Life gets busy. By providing an opportunity for families in our younger grades to sign up through our program, we can hopefully reach many students and allow them to learn to swim.” Students not only have opportunity for swimming lessons but are also encouraged to make healthy life choices through a yearly slide show presentation of the triathlon event that the Holmes Go Tri team attends each June. The students are reminded that fitness goals are something we should include in our academic year also.

The Challenge Half Ironman Triathlon is a 1.2 mile swim, a very hilly 56 mile ride followed by an equally hilly 13.1 half marathon run. The event will be completed as a relay by Naples (swim), Riotte (bike) and Hurlburt (run). All train throughout the year to be ready for the June race. “We want to be able to show the students that all goals need discipline. Training for an individual sport or a full triathlon takes both discipline and hard work. We share this with the students to encourage them to take up an activity or stay fit themselves with different sports.” The event this year takes place at Quassy Amusement park on June 3rd. Go Tri thanks all their sponsors this year that have helped Go Tri reach their goal.

This photo includes some of the kindergarteners and 1st graders represented from the 55 students. In the back row on the left is Mr. Mitch Page (school principal,) Kirsty Naples (teacher and Go Tri founder/swimmer,) Isiah Estrada (4th grader who worked with Mrs. Naples over the summer and fall in the pool before taking lessons at the YMCA Go Tri opportunity) on the right Tammy Bacho (Teacher and PTA teacher-liason.)

Missing from the picture are Gene Riotte (Special education teacher/cyclist) and Jesse Hurlburt (2nd grade teacher/runner)


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