It all started in 1981, when Roni and Steve Sawin began volunteering as swim meet officials for the Somerset Valley YMCA swim team. More than 30 years later, Roni and Steve remain dedicated officials, and they’re as much a part of the Somerset Valley YMCA community now as ever before.
Competitive swimming is a Sawin family tradition. All four of Roni and Steve’s children swam for the Somerset Valley YMCA swim team, and the youngest three went on to swim at the Division 1 colleges. Today, Roni and Steve’s 7-year-old granddaughter, Shane, is following their lead as the newest Sawin to swim for the Somerset Valley YMCA swim team.
Not only did the Sawins stayed on as officials long after their children graduated to help run meets and ensure rules are followed, but Steve also became an instructor for officials in 2004, passing his knowledge on to a new generation of Somerset Valley YMCA volunteers. Steve explained that he and Roni continue to be certified officials because “The swim team was very good for all of our kids. It teaches them discipline and gives them a sense of self accomplishment. Since it’s so good for the kids, we wanted to give something back.”
To this day, Steve is a starter and Roni a chief judge at the Y National Swim Meets. Their impact at the Y extends far and wide with each swim team member they’ve reached. A bench dedicated to the Sawins in 2006 is displayed proudly outside of the Bridgewater Family YMCA so that their role at the YMCA will be known for years to come.
The Sawins’ extraordinary role in the Somerset Valley YMCA goes beyond the boundaries of the pool. This past year, the Sawins volunteered their time and talents to landscaping for the Bridgewater Family YMCA, planting, weeding, and mulching to keep the front garden looking lush. Their hard work was tremendously appreciated by the Y, a community-based, nonprofit organization. Roni and Steve hope to continue their landscaping project in the spring.
When they’re not at swim team meets, Roni and Steve are busy impacting our community in other ways. Both are active in their church choir and bell choir. Roni also directs two bell choir groups and is a bass guitarist for her church and for the Dixieland Band. Steve is a master gardener, a trumpeter for the American Weldery Band, and is a part of the barber shop acapella group, the Hunterdon Harmonizers. Above all, Steve and Roni are two individuals wholeheartedly dedicated to the betterment of our community.