For the latest news, events and announcements about UA, please visit

The new UA News Center features news channels specifically for students, faculty and staff, media and research. The UA News Center uses video, photography and narrative to tell the UA story to our various audiences. It also serves as a hub for finding information on campus resources and calendars. will remain in place temporarily as an archive, but will no longer be updated.

The University of Alabama

UA Swim to the Top Participants to be Recognized at Luncheon

A sudent instructor helps a youngster take step toward becoming a swimmer.

A sudent instructor helps a youngster take a step toward becoming a swimmer.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Participants ages 4 to 14 and University of Alabama and local officials will celebrate Swim to the Top, a four-week program designed to save lives and improve the health of at-risk children and youth, at a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 30, at the Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA.

In its third year, the program is a collaborative effort among the Benjamin Barnes Branch of the YMCA, Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority, UA’s department of kinesiology and UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships.

Each UA student swim instructor works with four or five participants. In addition to swimming, participants also exercise, receive diet information and play games. The students also were exposed to golf through the participation of the First Tee of Tuscaloosa.

“We believe our collective efforts will lead to youth who are more comfortable in the water and are more aware and knowledgeable of the importance of nutrition and physical activity in their lives,” said LaKeda Smith, Barnes Branch YMCA executive director.

“Projects such as Swim to the Top offer UA graduate and undergraduate students an opportunity to gain valuable practical teaching, research and service experience,” said Dr. Matthew Curtner-Smith, department head and professor in the department of kinesiology and faculty adviser to the project.

At the luncheon, session leaders will recognize the participating students, their families and program team members.

Dr. Rosianna Gray, community education director for the center, praised the results of the program and said plans are underway to host the program again next year.

Students get basic safety instructions from a UA swim team teacher at Benjamen Barnes YMCA pool.

Students get basic safety instructions from a UA swim team teacher at the A.L. Freeman pool.

Students get basic safety instructions from a UA swim team teacher at Benjamen Barnes YMCA pool.

Members of the swim team assisting with the program this year are Stephen Casale, Mallory Durbin, Caitlyn Freeman, Abigail Greenwalt, Joshua Harper, Jennifer Jensen, Jessica Lambert, Alexandra McNatt, Carrington Rye and Jenna Starck.

Other instructors and facilitators are: Lakeda Smith, Laura Payton, Mark Harrison and Brandon McAway (administrative team); Mishon Flanigan, Julia Sanders, Antonio Gardner and Savannah Millsaps (enrichment and nutrition team); and Dr. Jermaine Mitchell, Rebecca Lundgren, and Douglas Craddock (fitness team).

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: David Miller, media relations, 205/348-0825,
  • SOURCE: Carol Agomo, director community and administrative affairs, UA Division of Community Affairs,