Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier champions YMCA swimming program

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays player Kevin Kiermaier thanked a group of about 200 youths as they graduated from a YMCA swimming program and enjoyed a pool party at Northeast High School.

"I think he thanked us because we did a good job," said 12-year-old Jacobi Cheedy. "He wants us to do this our whole lives and help others learn to swim and be safe." His sister, Tekoyia Cheedy, 11, said her swimming got a lot better. More than 11,600 kids have been through the YMCAs of Tampa Bay's aquatic safety program called Be Water Smart from the Start since it started three years ago.

And Kiermaier has been the spokesman and cheerleader for the program from the start.

"We're in Florida, there is water all around us … so it's crucial to let these kids know all the water safety and tips along the way," he said. "I think it's something they will probably remember a long time and hopefully teach their kids."

The Rays Baseball Foundation is the main partner of the YMCA program, which teaches kids swimming skills and techniques as well as how and why they need to have respect for the water and know their limits. Bethany Schleter, 9, proudly ran her finger around the rim of the medal she wore. All the participants received one, which had a picture of a wave of water wearing sunglasses etched into it. Aaliyah Young, 10, said she learned to do the backstroke and was already practicing with her aunt and uncle at home to keep up her skills.

Along with swimming, Janiya Williams was proud of another skill Kiermaier complimented her on.

"He said I gave the best high fives," the 11-year-old beamed.

Rays on the Runway

Kiermaier and teammates helped other kids in early August by raising thousands of dollars for the Children's Dream Fund with Rays on the Runway. Patrons packed the Vinoy Renaissance Resort to get autographs, photos and see players walk the fashion runway aside their wives or girlfriends and children who have already received or are awaiting a dream trip. For youngsters facing a serious illness, planning and taking a Dream Fund-sponsored trip such as a Disney cruise or astronaut training at Kennedy Space Center, is a wonderful escape from hospitals and treatments. Hamming it up on the runway with the Rays also makes for a pretty fun night.

When Beth Anne and Corey Dickerson reached the end of the runway with 12-year-old Xavier Moses, the youngest model thrilled the crowed with a handstand. Kelly and Alex Cobb presented a funny mini-drama. The pitcher threw an imaginary ball to dream child Christopher Dugan, a rising high school junior, who pantomimed hitting it out of the park, then put his arm around Kelly and the two walked past a dejected looking Alex. Christie and Logan Morrison modeled with Skai Coughlan, who twirled like a ballerina at the runway's end.

This is the 11th year the Rays Wives organization has sponsored the event, which raises more than $100,000 annually. Women's fashions were provided by Canvas Fashion Gallery in St. Petersburg. Baby bumps made appearances on the catwalk as well. When Wilson Ramos reached the end of the runway with his wife, Yeli Ramos, who looked stunning in a flowing peach dress, he knelt down and kissed her pregnant stomach. Trevor Plouffe and wife Olivia, who rocked a fitted cranberry dress, are also expecting a baby. Each of them has the Roman numerals XXIII tattooed on their finger in honor of Nov. 23, 2008, their first date. They got the tattoos when they were dating six months and have now been married four years.

Social datebook

At the beginning of each month, Katherine Snow Smith's column will include a calendar of events scheduled through the next eight weeks. Please send information to [email protected]

8.19

MOUSEQUERADE: Fundraiser for The Kind Mouse, which provides food for 350 children every weekend. 6:30 to 11 p.m. Pasadena Yacht & Country Club, 6300 Pasadena Point Blvd. S, Gulfport. $75. Music by Ellie McCoy. thekindmouse.org

9.16

ROYAL BALL: St. Pete Glitter Queens' annual fundraiser will benefit Beth Dillinger Foundation this year with a "Mod" about the '60s theme. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg. $75. (727) 644-8910 or stpeteglitterqueens.org.

9.23

GRAND GALA: Benefitting RCS, Help & Hope for People in Need. 6 p.m., Conmy Center, 750 San Salvador Drive, Dunedin. Guest speaker, Jay Harris, ESPN. (727) 584-3528 or rcsgrandgala.com.

9.30

BUTTERFLY BALL: Benefitting Alpha House. Vinoy Renaissance Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $150 and up. (727) 822-8190 or alphahousepinellas.org

Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier champions YMCA swimming program 08/09/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.