The second weekend in July is synonymous with swimming in Seymour.
Shields Park Pool hosted the 29th Seymour Splash this past weekend with more than 500 swimmers hailing from 22 teams from across the state Friday through Sunday.
The annual USA Swimming event, which caters to age groups ranging from 8 years old and under to 15 and older, is the final weekend for kids to qualify for upcoming championship meets.
Dave Boggs, head swimming and diving coach at Seymour High School, and his wife, Chris, put on the event with the help of the city and volunteers each year.
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"I love swimming. I love seeing the reactions on kids’ faces," Dave said. "We really stress having fun. When it comes to working hard in practice, we work hard. When it comes to the meets, we have fun. This is a very family-oriented sport."
Lane Mellencamp, who will attend the Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center this upcoming school year, said it was his second time at the meet.
"I think it’s neat because it kind of represents Seymour and our swimming team," he said. "I think it’s pretty fun. You get to see some new people when you race. I have been swimming at least five years. I like it because you have practice every day, and it’s something to do."
This year, Mellencamp encouraged his younger brother, Turner, an incoming first-grader at Emerson Elementary School, to swim in the meet.
"My favorite event is probably the freestyle. It’s the easier for me and has the easiest breathing," Turner said. "I usually swim here for practice, but this is my first time here for a meet. I really just wanted to swim because my brother does it."
Lauren Bode, an incoming sixth-grader at Immanuel Lutheran School, said she feels like she swims faster at Shields Park Pool.
"I decided to come back this year because this meet is really close to home," she said. "It’s our home pool, so we’re a lot faster. It is also close to divisional, so it gives us a chance to make the cut."
Sydney Bush, who also will attend the Sixth Grade Center in the 2019-20 school year, said she has competed in the meet six times.
"It’s just a fun event," she said. "I get to hang out with my friends. It’s also my pool, and I like swimming here. I’m more familiar with everything is."
Various coaches bring their teams to the meet each year because of how efficient and organized the meet is run, Boggs said.
"It’s just years of experience with Chris and I setting this up," Dave said. "Our parent board also helps us put on this great meet."
Many of Dave’s former swimmers help with the meet, and those alumni are now bringing their kids to swim in the competition.
"I think it’s what we try to instill in them. We want them to come out and give back to the community," Dave said. "A lot of them love the sport, and it gives them an opportunity to give back while staying around swimming."
City officials have estimated in the past around $100,000 comes into the city the weekend of the swim event each year.
"It exposes a lot of the things that our community offers," Chris said. "It’s not just this nice facility but the surrounding area."
The event started in 1990 with 325 swimmers. The highest number of swimmers that has ever competed in the event was 719, which was at the 2017 meet. Boggs said numbers were a little down this year because of an additional meet that was created during the same weekend in Newburgh.
Dave and Chris plan on putting on the event again next year for a 30th straight summer.