Swimming Opinion is courtesy of Gavin Cooley.
Swimming for a gold medal club is tough, if you weren’t aware. The competition in the elite groups is extremely intense. The rest of the teams in the state look at you with scorn, and you hear the rumors. “Oh, I heard they each have personal dietitians ,” and, “They PAY the athletes to swim there,” are two of my favorites. Your gear is stolen frequently at meets, for no good reason. Sometimes, it is simply hard to get the head coach to notice you, let alone know your name. These are the top five misconceptions about that team that always wins the state meet.
ONE – They only let crazy fast kids on the team.
Whether that means the kid has Junior National cuts, or is on the Olympic team, this team only takes the best of the best. Nothing less.
Many teams have their fastest swimmers in high school come from their age group program. I can tell you from personal experience, not all of these kids were very fast when they were younger. In fact, a majority of them were considered SLOW. Speed can come from anywhere.
TWO – There are a thousand members on the team.
SwimMAC, Palo Alto, North Baltimore Aquatic Club… They all have a lot of kids, right? So aren’t all fast clubs like that?
(Editor Note: NBAC appears to be a large club because of their depth of talent, but they average about 220 swimmers.)
Carmel Swim Club only has 450 members. Yes, that is a moderately large number, but definitely not huge. York YMCA only has 80! Quality over quantity.
(Editor Note: NBAC appears to be a large club because of their talent, but they average about 220 swimmers.)
THREE – They do an insane amount of yardage.
“Oh, the good old days of 80,000 yards a week… Now that produced strong swimmers!” – said any older swim coach you’ve ever met.
Yes, there are days when they go really far…and I mean REALLY far. 12,000 yard Saturday morning practices are the best. In contrast to the popular belief, they do not do this kind of stuff every day. A more accurate average would be 5-7000 yards per practice.
FOUR – They have the best and newest technology to work with.
IKKOS glasses, a casual swim flume, four 50 meter by 25 yard pools, OMEGA touch pads, a massive weight room, anything you can think of.
DO NOT NEED IT
The best coaches know, nice equipment helps. At the Queensland location for SwimMAC, they have Paddock Evacuator, and it keeps the air quality crystal clean, but they would be a high-powered club without it. The extra tech is a bonus (and good for their longterm health). However, at the end of the day, the best clubs work with what they have.
FIVE – Only clubs that were fast before have a chance to be fast now.
I mean…really? Do you honestly believe that?
If you believe it, you’re holding yourself and your team back. New gold medal clubs pop up fairly consistently, and everyone wants a shot to call themselves the best. If you can get just three of your fastest swimmers to lead your team, and support and raise your less experienced swimmers to new heights, Gold Medal standing is within reach.