Different strokes: A summer in the pool with the Stray Cats

Rachel Maki learned quickly that high-level competitive swimming wasn’t for her. “I was in SMAC for two weeks,” said Maki, a rising senior biology major/volleyball player at Shenandoah University, who has for several years been involved with another swimming program at the Waynesboro YMCA that you might not have heard of.

The Stray Cats summer swimming program provides a competitive outlet in the summer sports season for kids and teens who might not otherwise want to be a part of a year-round program like SMAC.

“We’ve got soccer players, football players. One of my best swimmers this summer is a football player,” said Maki, the head coach of the Stray Cats, who has been involved with the program since the age of 5.

For Maki, Stray Cats was something she could do in the summer to get ready for volleyball in the fall and soccer in the spring. It can also be a steppingstone to a program like the SMAC program.

“You get to swim in meets, see how it goes. You start to get your competitive nature. But it’s not a rigorous schedule,” said Maki, whose team schedules four hourlong practices each week in the summer, and also competes in a weekly meet against summer swim teams from across the region.

The focus in the pool is “on getting you legal in all four strokes, but more importantly, to get you to just enjoy swimming,” Maki said.

“It’s based on fun. We want you to have fun, learn the basics, but make it enjoyable for everyone,” Maki said.

More on the Stray Cats

Children must be able to swim one length of the pool to participate.

The cost to participate is $75 for members ($60 for a second child in the family) and $95 for nonmembers ($65 for a second child in the family.

Participants in the SMAC and YMCA Childcare programs can join the team for $55.

For more information, contact Denise Hill at 540.943.9622.

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