YWCA's Masters swim program finds new home at Southwest High School pool

For the last decade, Angela Haeg swam three days a week with the Masters Swim Team at the Uptown YWCA.

Now she and some of her fellow team members will be practicing their strokes at another pool in south Minneapolis.

"We will have some community at Southwest but it feels very temporary. It's very fragile," said Haeg.

YWCA Minneapolis says the Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education Department will take over the Masters Swim Team and provide spots for up to 50 members to swim five mornings a week at Southwest High School starting next Tuesday.

Y officials say they are also working to hand off its Otters program for swimmers 14 and under to Community Ed at the Southwest pool as well, but details are still being figured out.

"This is our first step. It's a very exciting step but I don't think it's going to be the only one. We care very much about these swimmers and we want to find homes for them," said YWCA Minneapolis head swim coach Dave Cameron.

The Y ended both swim programs earlier this month and announced it will close its Uptown and Downtown Minneapolis fitness centers on November 1.

Officials say even though the Y plans to pivot away from fitness and pools to focus on childcare and after-school youth programs, they didn't want to leave Masters and Otters members high and dry.

"Pretty much everything in this process has been ordered by what we think is best for our swimmers and masters. They are very much a part of our YWCA community, particularly at Uptown, and we really tried hard to make sure they were going to be taken care of in this process," said YWCA Minneapolis President and CEO Shelley Carthen Watson.

Haeg says so far, only 30 Masters swimmers have signed up to swim at Southwest, while they had 100 swimmers at the Uptown Y. But being able to continue swimming together is what matters the most.

"I'm hopeful I'll be able to continue to go and get back and get my kids to school and we can continue as a community," said Haeg.