Benefit magic show to aid kids in swim program


Discount tickets for Piranha Families are still available by clicking this direct link  HERE (15% off) until 11:59 pm on February 3rd. All tickets at the door are $17.00 

Benefit magic show to aid kids in swim program

SALEM — Area residents can help create some magic in the pool by attending a benefit magic show for Piranha Aquatics at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Salem Community Theatre.

“It’s really important for kids to learn to swim. (This is) giving kids in the area an opportunity to participate in a sport — keeps kids involved in something they can do for a lifetime. Swimming is a healthy, lifelong fun activity,” Piranha Aquatics Head Coach Caroline McDermott said.

The benefit magic show by The Alans husband and wife duo is in its second year, with proceeds benefitting the Piranha Aquatics Swimming Scholarship Fund which helps pay for free swim lessons for swimmers with special needs and provides scholarships for families in need to participate in the sport of swimming.

McDermott prefers the term swimmers with special abilities in talking about some of her students, including children with autism. There’s a grant through Autism Speaks to help pay for lessons for her special ability swimmers. She noted that the scholarship fund can help offset some costs for families on the Piranha Aquatics swim team, which participates in swim competitions.

She and Jason Alan are both Salem High School graduates who knew each other in school. Jason and his wife Stacy have performed all over and have opened for such music legends as Chubby Checker and Eddie Money. The description of the show promises  “an afternoon full of family entertainment. Jason, an expert sleight of hand artist, will create miracles right in front of your eyes, while Stacy, a psychological extraordinaire, will dive deep into your thoughts.”

Tickets are $13 for children and $16 for adults online through Eventbrite. To purchase the tickets, go to and click on magic show. Tickets will be available at the door the day of the show for $17 per person. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the show, with the concession stand available before the show and during intermission. A 50/50 raffle also will be held.

Major sponsors for the event include Wally Armour Salem Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM and Farmers National Bank, with many other businesses and individuals helping to sponsor the show.

Two events following the magic at the theatre are already sold out, including an exclusive dinner at LiBs Market next door created by Head Chef Don Ritenour with table magic by the Alans and then an exclusive VIP private 20-minute show with the Alans after the dinner.

“I am very humbled by the community support. Word is getting out about the good that we do for the community,” McDermott said.

This is the 10th year for Piranha Aquatics, which was started by McDermott when she returned to her hometown to continue her passion of coaching swimming, taking advantage of the fact that the city now had a pool facility at the Salem Community Center where the team trains and lessons take place.

McDermott didn’t have the luxury of a pool for competition nearby when she was growing up. Her parents had to drive her to other locations out of town for training and swim meets. She swam at the state meet when she was in high school and went on to swim in college, eventually becoming a full-time coach.

“I love teaching kids to swim,” she said, adding that she’s glad her childhood passion turned into a career.

The team which started out small now has 82 swimmers and she teaches private swim lessons to 150 kids a year besides teaching her special ability swimmers. The majority of the team lives in Columbiana County but there are also swimmers from Mahoning County who attend West Branch and South Range schools. She gives lessons at the SCC where the team is headquartered and also in the therapy pool at Salem Regional Medical Center, Firestone pool in Columbiana and the Salem Country Club.

McDermott also serves as a high school coach for swimming athletes at Salem High School, West Branch High School, Lisbon David Anderson High School and Western Reserve High School.

She noted that she didn’t realize the magic show was the same day as the Super Bowl, but said people can still attend and be home in plenty of time for the big game.

To learn about Piranha Aquatics, visit the website at or the Facebook page at Piranha Aquatics Swimming.

From the Salem News: