News From Terre Haute, Indiana


July 15, 2013

READERS' FORUM: July 15, 2013

Swim programs worth having

My name is Eli Stuhlmacher. I am currently an active duty Navy Seal. I have spent time in both war zones, Iraq and Afghanistan, as a team leader. I tell you this only because it is relevant for me to show you the vast value of the Terre Haute swimming programs.

I started swimming in Terre Haute at the age of 5. On the surface it was a great way for my parents to have me spend my energy learning a life skill, swimming. However, the coaches instilled a “never give up, anything is possible” attitude in me, a life skill worth learning as well.

I believe that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the success that I have if it were not for my time spent as a swimmer. I know for a fact that I would never have had a chance to swim at the collegiate level and have had my college courses paid for if it were not for the great swimming program in Terre Haute. I would have never had the skills and mental fortitude to make it through BUD/s training or to handle combat situations with swift, accurate decisions, if it were not for my time spent with the Terre Haute swimming programs.

Many people who do not swim or who have not enjoyed the benefits of swimming will challenge why their tax dollars should be spent on building a new swimming facility. I challenge them to consider the fact that it is programs such as these that are producing young people such as myself that are providing them the freedom that they enjoy today as a citizen of this great country. I can vividly remember sitting in Mr. Mann’s high school economics class and him saying a phrase TANSTAAFL, which stands for “There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” The swimming pools are an investment in our youth that play out on a local level, national and worldwide level.

To this day when I instruct tactics I try and reflect back on how my high school and club coach, Jeff Thompson, was so effective with relaying his message and standing behind his message. When he asked us to work hard, you could be assured that he was going to be working even harder than he was asking us to work. This was a great lesson in leadership. It would be a travesty to the young people of the Vigo County School Corp., and to the United States for that matter, to potentially lose this type of coaching/mentoring/leadership if swimming were to be eliminated or lost because we no longer have adequate facilities to support such programming.

In closing, I would like to encourage Superintendent Tanoos and the VCSC School Board to continue moving forward with your vision of replacing our outdated swimming facilities within our schools with one, centrally located, facility. Please continue providing life-long learning skills and productive citizens to our society.

— Eli Stuhlmacher

Trafalgar, Ind.

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