Locust Valley students are diving into a new sport with the introduction of the district’s first intramural swim program. Twice each week middle school and high school student-athletes learn competitive swim strokes from Coach Rachel McShane.

Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle are the focus of the early morning training sessions, which begin at the Glen Cove YMCA at 5:45 a.m. Parents drop their children off, and swimmers are transported to school by bus at 7:10 a.m. to start their school day.

Coach McShane also focuses on interval training, technique, racing starts, flip turns and relays. “This has led to healthy competition among the athletes,” she said. “The program has been very successful for swimmers looking to improve their skills.”

Joseph Pennacchio, interim Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, said the program has many advantages. “For some, this provides an opportunity to experience a new athletic activity,” he explained. “This can also increase skills, and knowledge and strengthen abilities that can lead to employment opportunities as a lifeguard.”

The first 10-week season began on Sept. 26 and due to its success, a second season will begin on March 20, 2018. More information about the spring season will be available in 2018.