Midland Swimming Celebrates Their New Home
Hundreds from the Fremont community joined Midland University swimmers on Tuesday, for the first big splash in the 700,000-gallon pool of the new $15.2 million Dillon Family YMCA Aquatic Center.
Smiles beamed as the swimmers splashed in what will be their new home for practice and competition. The world-class facility at the Fremont Family YMCA features a Myrtha pool and diving well that can be configured for either twelve 25-yard lanes or six 50-meter lanes for competitive swimming.
Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was another first in an inaugural season that has seen the Warriors collect a medal and exceed expectations at the Mid-South Conference Championships and improve on personal-best times.
“This right here is the nicest pool, the No. 1 pool, in the state of Nebraska. It’s one of the nicest in the region,” said Midland Swimming Coach Ryan Bubb, a two-time Olympic trials qualifier. “There’s no arguing that we’re going to have some of the best practice facilities around. We’re going to be able to train really hard. We’re going to have a great team, a nice big team here, that’s going allow us to compete for conference championships and hopefully down the road some national championships as well.”
In August 2016, Midland announced the addition of men’s and women’s swimming as the newest varsity-level sports. After a nationwide search, Midland hired Bubb to lead the new program.
As a coach, Bubb has inspired his team with his welcoming attitude, emphasis on creating a family atmosphere, and competitive spirit.
“I’m a competitive guy. All these swimmers are competitive as well,” Bubb said. “My thought process is if I can’t do something 100 percent, why do it all. I’m giving 100 percent to the swimmers. My philosophy is: I’m going to ask the swimmers to work hard in the pool, and I’m going to work just as hard for you out of the pool to help create a great team. That can create a culture of success.”
Success has come quickly for the Warriors. At the recent Mid-South Conference Championships, junior Paige Skidmore of Omaha, Nebraska, captured the program’s first conference medal by finishing third place in the 200-yard breaststroke. Overall, the Warriors set 13 team records.
Skidmore has enjoyed the opportunities provided at Midland.
“Getting a scholarship [to swim here] means that I get to continue the sport that I love also while getting my education for the job I want in the future,” Skidmore said after Tuesday’s event.
Darmando Knowles, a junior from Nassau, Bahamas, understands and appreciates the importance of the scholarships available to more than 800 student-athletes in 31 different sports at Midland, which is home to the largest athletic department in Nebraska.
“Being from another country, the scholarship helps out a lot,” Knowles said. “It gives me the opportunity to go to school and swim. It’s a great opportunity.”
Once the crowds cleared out after the ceremony, Midland swimmers were able to climb up on the starting blocks, dive in, and take a lap in the new pool. They plan to get a few more laps in this pool before heading to the NAIA National Championships on March 1-3 in Columbus, Georgia.
“We’re looking forward to the end of the season, and already looking forward to next season,” Bubb said. “If you’re looking at swimming in college, if you’re trying to find a home where you can truly call it home, and a place where you feel comfortable, you feel welcomed and loved, and it’s truly a family for you, this is the place to be.”