Riverview High School senior Katherine Newcomb was recently named a Lightning Community Hero. She received a grant for $25,000 to help fund swim lessons for at-risk children through the BSAC, in addition to a $25,000 grant for her own education.

Riverview High School senior Katherine Newcomb is teaming up with Brandon Sports and Aquatics Club (BSAC) to save lives thanks to a grant from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Newcomb was recently named the 31st Lightning Community Hero of the season earning a donation of $50,000 from the club’s Lightning Foundation.Half of this money will be used as a scholarship for Newcomb’s education and the other half will go to BSAC to support their mission to prevent youth drowning.

A long-time swimmer and now life guard at BSAC, Newcomb realized that residents in the Tampa Bay Area are especially vulnerable to potential drowning, so she applied for the grant to fund swimming lessons for at-risk and disadvantaged youth through BSAC’s Learn-to-Swim Program.
According to BSAC Director of Marketing Carli Walko, the grant will provide 400 free swim lessons with basic water safety skills to children ages 3 to 13.

“In Florida, we are surrounded by water; the drowning rate is too high for our state. I think we need to focus on that,” said Newcomb, who hopes to attend Florida State University next year and plans to eventually attend law school and become a corporate lawyer. “Water makes up such a big part of our lives, we need to make sure that everyone knows how to swim.”

“Katherine’s passion for wanting to impact the learn to swim movement at BSAC is an example of what one person alone can do,” said BSAC CEO Chuck Burgess. “Her efforts with the Lightning’s support will potentially save hundreds of lives.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning introduced its Community Hero program in 2011 and since then more than 300 heroes have been named and the foundation has granted more than $15 million to more than 400 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa area.

For more information on BSAC swimming, visit www.mybsac.org or call 689-0908. BSAC is located at 405 Beverly Blvd. in Brandon.

To learn more information about the Lightning Foundation, visit www.nhl.com/lightning.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.