Swimmers upset after Minneapolis YWCA eliminates masters, otters swim team programs

Brian Elliott's two sons have been a part of the Otters swim program at the Uptown YWCA for eight years.

But now they are scrambling to find a new club where they can practice their swimming skills several times a week.

"We're upset. We're sad that the program is ending. It's been such a good program for my kids, for so many other kids," said Elliott.
The YWCA Minneapolis says it is closing both its Uptown and Downtown locations on Nov. 1, as it pivots away from fitness centers and pools to focus more on childcare and after school youth programs.

Elliott says swimmers didn't find out that the Y's Otters swim team for kids, and the Masters swim team for adults were closing until days before they ended on Aug. 1.

"It was all incredibly abrupt and it could have been handled so much better," said Elliott.

Minneapolis school board member Kim Ellison says swimming with the Masters swim program at the downtown YWCA twice a week helped her health after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Her group of swimmers have found a suburban pool to practice in, but since she lives downtown and doesn't have a car, Ellison isn't sure if she'll be able to join them.

"It affects a lot of people. I mean, Our lives. For me, my health is affected by it. so I just hope that I can find another home," said Ellison.

Elliott says ending the Otters means there won't be a Minneapolis based swim club serving children his sons' ages in the city of lakes.

"We wish they could give us some more time to figure out how to transition properly, rather than just dispersing to all of the other teams," said Elliottt.