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New aquatic director looks to encourage swimmers

VALLEY — Carly Howell made something of a homecoming in becoming Valley Parks and Recreation’s new aquatic director. She’s a native of Auburn and graduated from Auburn High School.

A gifted swimmer, she earned a four-year athletic scholarship to attend Campbell University in Buie’s Creek, N.C. She earned a degree in exercise science and starred for the Lady Camel swim team, specializing in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and in the 200 IM.

She’s back home in east Alabama and working with young swimmers and encouraging them to be their best in the Community Center indoor pool.

“I like to see kids improve and to have fun with their teammates,” she said. “We will be taking part in swim meets this year.”

She’s the coach of the Valley Area Swim Team and expects to have somewhere between 30 and 40 swimmers when competition rolls around this spring.

“We will take swimmers from five to 18 years of age,” she said. “A majority of kids are in  elementary school. It’s good to get them when they are young and developing them for when they are a few years older.

Howell also wants to start a Master’s program for anyone who is 18 years of age and older.

“I would like for us to have an adult swim team that takes part in competitive meets.”

Anyone of that age group who would like to participate can contact her at www.chowell@cityofvalley.com. There’s also information on the city’s Facebook page.

Howell has swimming lessons for anyone six months of age and older. She said that it’s easier to work with a six-month-old than it is with older children.

“They don’t have a fear of the water,” she said. “That’s something older children have to overcome.”

In those lessons for the six-month olds, the mom is in the water with Howell.

“They can learn to flip over on their back and to hold onto the wall,” she said of infant swimmers.

Howell is looking forward to VAST’s upcoming swim season.

“We will be hosting the district tournament in the second weekend in July,” she said. “Our main goal right now is to get more swimmers to come out and take part in what we’re doing,

Carly and her husband, Phil Howell, live in the Auburn area. Phil is serving his country as a member of the National Guard.