In an effort to contribute to the community, California Baptist University’s Athletics Department sponsors age-group athletic programs in the Lancer Aquatic Center.
Age-group teams help provide youth in the community with a place where they can get involved in sports. Age groups range from 6-year-old children through 16-year-old high school students.
Bryan Engle, associate director of CBU athletics for Facilities and Event Management, said the swim program has been running for 20 years.
“The university’s goals and aspirations are to really reach the community,” said Kavin Callister, manager of the swimming age-group program.
Callister said the program has multiple social media outlets to reach the community, but the best way to reach out is through word of mouth regarding coaches and how they work with athletes.
“The more kids we can have involved here, the better,” Callister said.
Alina Jungklaus, coach of age-group swimming, said the program helps to build a foundation for kids their age.
“Being able to train with other kids your age is fun but also a challenge because they always compare (themselves) to each other,” Jungklaus said.
Coaches of the program are mostly CBU student-athletes on the respective sports teams or students who are experienced in either swim or water polo.
“I try to use my own experiences that I made over the 13 years (of swimming),” Jungklaus said.
Jungklaus said she used her experience of once being an age-group athlete to help young swimmers face their challenges.
“Whenever they ask me questions on how to improve, I remember what my coaches used to tell me and encourage them whenever they doubt themselves,” Jungklaus said.
The program is year-round and takes new sign-ups at any point each year. Callister said summer is the busiest term.
“We had 130 to 140 kids (in the program) (last) summer,” Callister said. “Coming into fall I thought 30-40 was a pretty good amount.”
Callister said the program has been growing, and there are currently 125 athletes signed up for the program’s fall term.