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April newsletter

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Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Swim Lessons

Last Fall, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA revised its swim lessons to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of swimming to all ages and skill levels. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace. This results in more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.

“The community has responded very positively to our new curriculum,” said Shelley Lechnir, Aquatics Director at the Marshalltown Y.  “We have been adding classes to the schedule in order to meet the demand for participation.”

Spring Session classes at the Y begin Monday, April 2nd.  Registration opens March 26th

There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons:

  • Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years.
  • Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages.
  • Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique for experienced students. 

Families interested in learning more about Y swim lessons and water safety classes should visit or call 641-752-8658.


About the Y

As a non-profit organization, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA strengthens the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y aims to nurture the potential of children and teens and is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

2018 Iowa YMCA Swimming All-Stars

Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Blue Wave Swim Team members Averie Wittkop and Stephen Blom were chosen to the 2018 All-Star Team.

All-Star Team members are committed to YOUTH DEVELOPMENT – positive role model, HEALTHY LIVING – taking an active role in a lifelong sport and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – giving back and supporting others in their community.  They have shown dedication to YMCA Swimming and great sportsmanship to all those around them. 



State YMCA Championship Swim Meet 2018

State Meet Information:
Linda Bloom Natatorium at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA
Boys meet Saturday, March 3rd, 10:00 a.m.
Girls meet Sunday, March 4th, 10:00 a.m.
Admission is FREE - come by to cheer on the swimmers!

 Lane assignment schedules can be found on the State Swim Meet website
To livestream the event, click this link:

Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Building Closure Information

  • Gym will close at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2nd and will remain closed all weekend
  • Lap Pool and Rec Pool closed all day, March 3rd & 4th

American Heart Month Tips: Sodium Reduction

February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help families in Central Iowa reduce the amount of sodium in their diet.   

  1. Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; as well as ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
  2. Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
  3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
  4. Adjust your taste buds:  Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt may lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
  5. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk. 

Staff Spotlight - Connie Klaas

Classes: Aqualates, Senior aqua, moving & stretching, preschool swim lessons

Hobbies and Interests: Gardening (flowers & veggies), stampin’ up (making cards), sewing, reading, watching birds at the bird-feeder.

Favorite Thing About Being an Instructor:

Adult Instructor: being able to help others get stronger, helping those with similar physical issues (fibro arthritis), realize that they’re not alone; supporting one another and making new friends.

Kid Instructor: watching them go from not being to swim to swimming by themselves, seeing their face light up when they accomplish a task and the way they make me laugh. I love to listen to them talk and tell me their stories.

Fun Fact: I have four kids; two boys and twin girls, two cats and a dog. I was raised in Denver, CO. I love dark chocolate and  sci-fi books and movies.


10 Reasons to Start Powerlifting

Whether you want to improve athletic performance, compete in powerlifting, or just get strong, there may be a reason for you to begin powerlifting.

10 reasons to start today!

#1 – Powerlifting is the safest style of weight lifting

While all weight lifting (and exercise for that matter) has an element of danger, powerlifting is relatively safe. Why? Because it rewards proper form. If you are powerlifting with the goal to set a personal best, your form absolutely must be spot-on. In bodybuilding, with the goal to fatigue muscles so they grow bigger (rather than focusing on the weight itself,) proper form isn’t essential and is sometimes thrown out the window.

With that ideal form, you are less likely to get injured.

#2 – Increase bone density

All resistance training will increase your bone density. Stronger bones help you avoid osteoporosis when you’re older.

Powerlifting, with its focus on heavier weights, should theoretically be the best training to improve your bone health.

#3 – Develop Full-Body Strength

When you do powerlifting exercises properly, each one is a full-body exercise. Each exercise requires you to drive power from your lower body through your upper body. Learning this technique is very useful for lifting heavy objects in real life (that you’d never be able to lift using your muscles in isolation.)

It’s no secret that most endurance sports do not develop full-body strength.


#4 – Improve Athletic Performance

Unlike in bodybuilding, the strength and power gains from powerlifting will actually help you in sports. For starters, you’ll end up running faster and jumping higher. With some on-bike work, you’ll be pushing those big gears easier than ever.

Play football? You’ll be able to tackle bigger players and/or run through anyone in your way. Play basketball? You’ll jump high enough for any rebound.

#5 – It’s simple

There are three lifts. You learn those lifts, then you do them. That’s it. While there are plenty of finer details for each lift, it’s easy to get the basics down quickly.

This is essential for anyone who already participates in skill-intensive sports (mountain biking, for instance) that takes up a lot of time and energy.

#6 – It’s rewarding

It feels great to see your weight totals go up every single week! It’s actually common to see steady gains if you’re on a good program.

With every little gain, you’re motivated to keep training. You don’t have to wait months or years to see progress – it’s almost instant gratification!

#7 – Build muscle

Though you aren’t doing a wide variety of exercises designed to enhance specific body parts, you’re still going to build some muscles and look good.

#8 – Build self-confidence

Confidence in yourself is essential for so many things in life. Being more confident will bring you more success in life.

As a powerlifter, there’s something empowering about grabbing hold of a heavy, loaded barbell and ripping it off the ground or heaving it into the air!

#9 – Practically everyone can do it

If you have a gym membership, you can do it. No fancy machines are necessary! You don’t have to be able to run a marathon or anything like that.

#10 – It’s fun to be strong

Being strong is just plain fun. You can do all sorts of neat stuff that you normally wouldn’t be able to do if your only training was for endurance sports.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

As diabetes rates continues to rise, few Central Iowa residents know they are at risk

[November 2017] – During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA is encouraging residents in Central Iowa to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease. 

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (84 million people) has prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

“As one of the leading community-based charities committed to improving the health of our community, the Y wants all people to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps to take to avoid developing type 2 diabetes,” said Heidi Draisey, Marshalltown Y Health & Wellness Coordinator.  “Developing type 2 diabetes not only puts a tremendous strain on our health care system, but impacts the lives of millions of people and their families each year.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

The Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA is helping to improve health through programs and services for all ages.  The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention program helps participants reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

For more information call 641-752-8658 or click here to learn about Health & Wellness programs at the Y.