Swimmers flock to Seymour for annual event at Shields Park Pool


After finding a parking spot, and navigating through the small tent city, you reach the pool constructed upon a hill.

Once you get through the gate, and move past the giant water slide and concessions, vendors and spectators, there’s a small setup roped off on the far side of the pool.

That’s home base: The place where Chris and Dave Boggs and crew keep the heart beat of the Seymour Splash thumping over the course of three days.

The city pool held its annual USA Swimming event Friday through Sunday, with 701 swimmers in attendance. Fifty-two of those swimmers represented Seymour.

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A total of 22 teams, spanning from Muncie to just before Louisville, Kentucky, hit the water.

Age groups ranged from 8 years old and under to 15 and older.

The meet is the final weekend for kids to qualify for upcoming championship meets.

“They really like the outdoors and the preliminary/finals format,” Chris Boggs said. “Starting next week the kids go to the championship format. They will have senior state and age group state and divisional. This meet (in Seymour) is formatted for like how those meets will be. It’s good training for them to get used to swimming faster at night.”

At the Seymour Splash, races are constantly running. On Saturday, for the 50-meter races, 250 swimmers were in the pool over the course of 12 minutes.

It takes a lot of preparation and bodies to help everything run smoothly at the pool.

Chris, who works a plethora of jobs during the meet, but mainly works as the timer, said that there are a minimum of 30 volunteers working at all times during the meet.

“It’s organized chaos,” Chris said with a smile. “Everyone has their job. Our swim parents have been wonderful about stepping up and doing what we need them to do to take care of concessions, hospitality or timing. If you’re watching it, it looks like total chaos. The kids all know where they are supposed to be and when.”

Kyle Pfaffenberger, a recent Seymour High School graduate who is going to swim at Hanover College, said that the Seymour Splash is a special event.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Pfaffenberger said. “It’s the only outdoors meet we do. We have practices where we work on their strokes and teach the little kids new mechanics. I’m proud of all of them so far.”

The event started in 1990 with 325 swimmers. The highest number of swimmers that have ever competed in the event was 719, which was at last year’s meet.

Seymour-Redding Elementary incoming third-grader Conner Schafer looks forward to the event each year.

“I’ve swam for four years now,” Schafer said. “I like this meet, it’s a lot of fun. I want to make divisional on the 50 free. I like that you get to make friends and that swimming is a challenging sport.”

Ellah Bridgewater, a seventh-grader at Immanuel Lutheran, likes meeting new people each year and introducing them to the community.

“I’ve competed in this three times,” Bridgewater said. “It’s a really fun meet and it’s one of the biggest swim meets ever. It would be sad to miss. A lot of my friends are here and we’re having fun. It’s really nice that it’s here because a lot of people get to visit Seymour.”

City officials have estimated in the past around $100,00 comes into the city the weekend of the swim event each year.

“It’s really good for the community,” Chris said. “It brings a lot of people in. We have a really fast pool and a nice facility. It’s a good opportunity to showcase what we have.”

She said that most all of the teams stay at hotels over the weekend, and that those in attendance are encouraged to shop locally.

“Every child here got a really nice cinch bag from the Seymour Eye Clinic,” Chris said. “In that we put discount coupons for a lot of the restaurants along with information for the eye clinic.  We had some businesses that gave us pens and pencils as well. The coaches got the same thing with some other things for them.”

Chris said that they couldn’t put on the event each year without the help of the city.

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