O'Fallon: Sports

Breakers coaches dive in to help raise money for cystic fibrosis

Breakers coaches competed in multiple 50-meter butterfly events in support of the team’s fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. Pictured, from left, are head coach Kim Eddy and assistants Max Gibbs, Jessica Hattan, Killara Williamson, and Katie Slaughter.
Breakers coaches competed in multiple 50-meter butterfly events in support of the team’s fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. Pictured, from left, are head coach Kim Eddy and assistants Max Gibbs, Jessica Hattan, Killara Williamson, and Katie Slaughter. For the Progress

Founded in 1988, the O’Fallon Breakers swim team has enjoyed a long and storied tradition in the community.

That tradition includes unparalleled success in the pool while competing in the highly competitive, 10-team Midwest Swim Conference – capturing last season’s regular season Conference title by going undefeated.

Moreover, at 6-0 with just one tri-meet remaining before the conference meet on July 21, the team appears on track for more of the same this season.

But the team also embarks on community service endeavors as well, having established “Team H2O” (Help 2 Others) several years ago as an outlet for community service efforts by the team.

In that context, the team just wrapped up its second activity of the season. As a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis research, swimmers brought in spare change and deposited them in a bucket assigned to each of the five Breakers coaches. The concept: whichever coach raised the top dollar amount through these spare change donations earned bragging rights and, more importantly, did not have to brave the cold morning waters to swim a 50-meter fly against the other coaches at each of the three Friday morning practices.

“The kids had a lot of fun with this one,” said swim parent and event co-organizer Colleen McCollum. “It really was more about deciding which coach or coaches you wanted to see brave the morning waters and struggle through a 50 fly — and then donating your change to one of the other coaches’ bucket. In the end, we raised nearly $800, so we consider this a huge success for a first-time event. We plan to do it again next year. We have two swimmers on the team with CF so what a perfect cause to support.”

And who won bragging rights? Assistant coach Max Gibbs. That meant head coach Kim Eddy and assistants Jessica Hattan, Katie Slaughter, and Killara Williamson earned the “honor” of competing in a 50 fly at each practice last Friday.

Earlier this season, during the home meet against Scott, the team also wrapped up its fourth annual canned food drive for the O’Fallon Food Pantry, collecting some 600-plus cans of food and other non-perishable items, as well as cash donations.

“The O’Fallon Food Pantry is an easy choice,” said Rick Edwards, Breakers board president. “They have been doing great work in this community for years, and the timing of our season corresponds with a time of year when donations are generally down. People tend to think about food panty donations around holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not so much mid-summer. So we consider this to be a timely and therefore meaningful endeavor.

“I believe we are the only team in our league that includes a charitable component,” Edwards continued. “Our kids are eager to participate and make a difference -- and they have fun with it! With all the success we’ve had in the pool, it’s very rewarding to see the same level of passion for an activity beyond the swim lanes. These are good kids representing this swim team and this community in a positive way. We obviously plan to continue Team H20 activities next year and beyond.”

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