(From left) Senior Bri Ruebush, Eighth-Grader Julie Worcester, Senior Caty Battjes, Eighth-Grader Trinity Stoner and Junior Kassey Worcester model some of the T-shirts from 60 for Southwestern events. (Staff photo by Tali Hunt)
(From left) Senior Bri Ruebush, Eighth-Grader Julie Worcester, Senior Caty Battjes, Eighth-Grader Trinity Stoner and Junior Kassey Worcester model some of the T-shirts from 60 for Southwestern events. (Staff photo by Tali Hunt)
Southwestern middle and high school students — with help from members of the Madison and H20 swim clubs — will swim 60 miles this Saturday at Southwestern High School to raise funds for next year’s swim season. The swimmers will have from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to swim their 60 miles.

This year’s funds will go to open the pool in the fall for the 2018-2019 season and to complete maintenance on the facility’s timing system.

This will be the seventh annual 60 for Southwestern. Coach Shelly Hamilton explained that the Pool Boosters were started by the swimmers’ families and friends but has grown to include many other community members.

“Without the amazing community support we have had since the first year, there’s no way we could’ve done this,” said Hamilton of maintaining the swim program and keeping practices at the school.

Community members and businesses support the program by donating and sponsoring swimmers for the event. Each Southwestern swimmer also has an individual goal this year of raising $100.

The Pool Boosters are selling T-shirts again this year. The shirts will be for sale Saturday at $10 for small through large; extra large and 2XL will be $12 each.

The Pool Boosters’ fundraiser goal is $6,000, which is the minimum cost the Pool Boosters pay now to open the pool inside Southwestern High School for August and September each year.

Funds beyond the $6,000 are used to maintain the facility and update and replace equipment as needed. So far, more than $74,000 has been raised and re-invested in the program’s facility and equipment by the Pool Boosters since 2012, said Pool Boosters President Leslie Battjes.

The team warm-ups are thanks to last year’s highly successful 60 for Southwestern, which raised $10,000. Until last year, swimmers and their parents had to purchase their own suits, goggles, caps, etc. to participate in the program.

There are almost 50 Southwestern students in the swim program this year. The pool also is open to the public and the Pool Boosters have a relationship with Fit for the King on community fitness courses. The school also is working to create an official partnership with Hanover College.