Alex Hubel first found herself in the Boulder City Pool at just a year old, in the Parent-Baby-Tot Class with her grandmother. It was the start of something special.
“She never left the water,” says her mom, Laura Ward Hubel. “We found a whole community at the pool where BCH Heatwave became a way of life for us.”
Eighteen years later, the three-time Division 1A Swimmer of the Year is an elite freestyler on scholarship at UCLA. She credits seeing other Boulder City kids going to college and swimming as giving her a high goal to reach for.
For a town its size, Boulder City has produced a surprising number of swimmers who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level.
It’s an impressive list, including Scott Smale, who was an All American at Northwestern, his brother Bob Smale and Lea Hurlburt, who were both Captains of the UNLV swim team, Katie Aldworth (CAL), Dougie Broadbent (BYU) and Blakeley Bunch (Auburn).
More recent BCH alumni include Dylan Bunch (Denver), Megan Purdy (Northwestern), Joey Gebhart (Air Force Academy) and multi-time All American Zane Grothe (Auburn), who is currently the second seed in the 400 Freestyle for this summer’s Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
Former BC aquatics director Stana Hurlburt, who had Zane Grothe and others in her parent-tot classes, marvels at the progress. “It was amazing having the opportunity to watch these young swimmers develop not only as athletes but also as people,” she says.
The team was created in the mid 1980’s as the Boulder City Swim Team. At that time, there were only twenty kids who trained year round and also competed in a summer league. Ten years later, the name was changed to the Boulder City Henderson Heatwave as the team added swimmers, and pools, in neighboring Henderson.
Today, the eleven-time State Champion BCH Heatwave has 400 swimmers and four pools (the BC Pool, Henderson Multi-Gen, Whitney Ranch, and Heritage Park).
“Seeing individual athletes earn the chance to compete in college is gratifying,” says Head Coach Mike Polk, “but that isn’t one of the main reasons that kids get in the water in the first place and continue to swim.”
“If you are looking for a fun activity with a great peer group of kids and families, I think this is that,” Polk adds. “If you are looking for an opportunity to develop life lessons such as discipline, time-management, goal setting and delayed gratification, it can be that too.”
There are currently more than sixty swimmers from Boulder City on the team. The more advanced older swimmers train with the national group at Multi-Gen pool. Coaches Sarah Fecteau and Linda Estes lead the groups at the Boulder City pool. Coach Linda has the Swim Star group, which is where new swimmers begin year-round training. Coach Sarah covers the JV group and the JO 1 and JO 2 groups.
There is also a summer league for kids who have gone through the swim classes at the Boulder City Pool and are ready for more. New swimmers must be at least six years old and able to do freestyle and backstroke. Participants will be introduced to competitive swimming and participate in intra-squad Challenger swim meets.
“Most kids love the water,” says Coach Sarah. “Summer league is a great way to stay cool and have fun.”
This summer the Swim Stars group meets at 7-8pm Monday through Thursday and 9-10am on Fridays. The JV, JO 1, JO 2 and summer league groups train from 9-11am Monday through Friday.
Registration forms are available at the Boulder City Pool front desk. The summer league costs $120 for the summer ($110 per swimmer for families with more than one child swimming). Rates vary for the year round program.
“Competitive swimming is a family oriented activity,” says Coach Mike. “Parent involvement is not only crucial for the development of the kids participating, as far as them getting everything out of it that they can, but it becomes a bonding activity for the whole family.”