Over the past three years, dozens and dozens of local swimmers had a chance to participate in Aquadarts programs thanks to the benevolence of Paul and Katie Brady.
It’s been difficult to get Paul to take a bow — not only for he and Katie’s $100,000 commitment to the ’Darts but their work in funding what became the Brady Family Swim Building as well as a Brady grant that led to construction of a chemotherapy addition at Sutter Davis.
I finally convinced DART head coach Billy Doughty and his right-hand swim master Carolee Gregg to drag Katie and Paul to breakfast last week for a chat about why it is someone opens their heart (and bank account) like the Bradys have.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful,” DART head age-group coach Gregg told me about Paul and Katie’s four-year pledge of $25,000 annually. “The Brady Family Scholarship Fund has now provided (grants) for 10 to 12 families year-round. More than 50 other kids in different programs have benefitted. And we continue to look for new ways for the money to be used.”
With an appreciative nod, Brady acknowledged Gregg’s further kind words, but wouldn’t let any attention stay on him or his wife of 16 years.
“Let me tell you, I’m terrible about receiving,” says Paul. “But giving away is so much more pleasurable than receiving. It’s incredible.”
From allowing low-income families to swim in DART programs like Summerdarts, Minidarts, Special Olympics or a new upcoming camp, the contributions from Katie and Paul are going to the right people.
“We have 32 kids from the Yolo Migrant Camp coming on June 17,” Gregg told me. “We want to teach them as much swim safety as we can. Unfortunately, you can’t really teach someone how to swim in three hours … but we’re working on arranging (additional swim lessons) for those who want them. The Brady Scholarship Fund allows us to do that.”
Brady, for 39 years a physics professor at UC Davis while being a city resident since 1962, saw his four kids — Meghan, Gillian, Aaron and Sarah — turn to swimming as youths. He’s watched as hundreds of former Aquadarts have benefitted from the gazillion different programs, competitions and recreational swim opportunities offered here.
While Paul says while giving back is a thank-you for what Aquadarts did for his family, it’s more about ensuring swimming (“It can get expensive,” he adds) is less demanding of the pocketbook. Being a swimmer offers a lot of life’s lessons and “people shouldn’t be left out just because they can’t afford it,” the 85-year-old points out:
“We tracked Aquadart swimmers and 99.9 percent of them seem to have gone on to be successful,” Paul says.
“Good citizens,” adds Katie.
“It’s really not just about my family,” continues Paul, who still swims three times a week. “When I see a Davis coach get a hold of a kid and get him into a program — and it’s not just swimming, it’s any program — that kid is going to be a success in life.
“Swimming, in particular, builds physical and mental stamina and discipline. Even though swimming is an individual sport, there’s a great, steep team camaraderie. I see it all the time in the high school teams. At the meets, they total up all the points (earned by individuals) and anybody could have contributed a few points.”
Team play is something that lasts a lifetime, he believes.
By the time breakfast ended, Gregg and I had convinced Katie and Paul to accept a little tip of the cap.
While I Have You Here: Learn about the Brady Scholarship Fund at Aquadarts.org. There is an application for a grant on the site.
Of particular interest this year might be the new DART Camp, four hours of swim training, tennis (through Davis Tennis Academy at Community Park), arts and crafts and free pool time. Gregg is excited about partnering with coach Dale Hersch’s tennis school and Davis Kids Klub. Lynda Yancher directs the kids’ organization that can be paired with the DART Camp to provide more wholesome entertainment before and after the swim/tennis festivities from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Six, one-week sessions are offered.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at 530-320-4456 or via email: [email protected]