Club Kick Start to Merge With North Carolina Aquatic Club Under Mark Gangloff

Club Kick Start is joining forces with North Carolina Aquatic Club to expand its offerings under NCAC President Mark Gangloff.

Club Kick Start (CKS) was founded by Sarah Chaires almost a decade ago. Over that span, the non-profit has worked to fund swim lesson expansion programs, summer swim league feeder programs, and age group swimmers with the intention of preventing drownings throughout the Triangle Area in North Carolina.

Chaires is leaving the program to focus on her role as the President of Carolina Swims Foundation, which helps deliver the “Give the Gift of Swim” program to underserved children and children in foster care in North Carolina. Chaires commented on her move, stating, ““I am primed to sharpen the drowning prevention efforts in our communities, to expand access to swim lessons for all children and to safeguard all children with the survival lifesaving skill of swimming to prevent drownings.”

With the partnership, CKS swimmers will fold into the North Carolina Aquatic Club (NCAC). NCAC will work with the former CKS swimmers to provide coaching, support, and access to additional opportunities within the sport of swimming. Mark Gangloff, the Head Coach of the University of North Carolina Swim program is currently the president of NCAC, while Steve Brown is currently the head coach of NCAC.

Aside from the expanded membership, NCAC will continue operations as usual.

“NCAC is excited to welcome CKS swimmers and their families to the NCAC Family,” said Gangloff. “NCAC coaches focus on total-athlete growth and we are humbled by the opportunity to share this philosophy with more athletes in the community. We can’t wait to see all of our swimmers, old and new, accomplish their goals.”

Chaires also spoke of the partnership, “This is a very exciting time for CKS and all of the wonderful swimmers and families on the team; I’m so proud to have contributed to strong swimming in The Triangle and look forward to seeing great swims at NCAC for many years to come.”

Club Kick Start was recently home former University of Texas swimmer and current US National Teamer Sam Stewart, who recently transitioned to the club, representing Club Kick Start at the 2021 US Open back in December, where he finished 2nd overall in the 100 backstroke. It was also previously home to University of Notre Dame commit Tate Bacon, who was a finalist at the 2021 Winter Junior Championships -East, producing top 5 finishes in the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, and 50 freestyle, though he has moved on to another club.

According to the CDC, drowning is the #1 cause of unintentional injury death in children ages 0-4 years old and the #2 cause of such deaths in children ages 5-14 years old. In the state of North Carolina, an average of 103 children have drowned each year since the year 2000 with 2,055 fatal drownings occurring between 2000 and 2019.

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2 years ago

Steve Brown = 🐐

2 years ago

Bacon didn’t even represent CKS at juniors but good for them merging with the better club in the Chapel Hill area

Triangle swimming
2 years ago

So little everyone knows

Reply to  Triangle swimming
2 years ago

Enlighten us please

2 years ago

I’ve always thought that it is a bad idea for college coaches to mingle with the respective club teams at their pools. Not all, but many use the club team as their piggy bank to fund volunteer assistants, etc that will only stay 1-2 years. In some cases it is far worse. Many university coach owned teams don’t do any better than others performance wise.
Just my 2 cents…

Reply to  Mytwocents
2 years ago

You must have not been paying attention to what’s going on in Charlottesville….

2 years ago

Sam Stewart is no longer with Club Kick Start and Bacon is no longer with Battaglini.

2 years ago

CKS actually isn’t home to Bacon anymore, he’s moved to East Carolina Aquatics with Coach Battaglini.

Blue fish
Reply to  NCSwimFan
2 years ago

Bacon is no longer at East Carolina Aquatics lol

James Trojay
2 years ago

This sounds like a good idea on the face of it. Most mergers these days are simply to crowd out smaller teams, score more ‘points’ and hoard resources. Hopefully this does indeed have a more altruistic motive.

Reply to  James Trojay
2 years ago

Interesting take. Wouldn’t merging spread resources across more groups and communities?

Coach Tom
Reply to  Rtr
2 years ago

In theory, yes. In practice (and I’ve coached at 3 different clubs that were part of sales/mergers, so I have far more experience with this than I’d like) these are usually revenue-driven moves where one team acquires another team in order to bolster their numbers or pool time. The “spreading the resources across more groups” often takes the form of the assistant coaches doing more work for the same pay.

2 years ago

I’m sure this acquisition will go just as smoothly as all previous ones in the Triangle area…

Coach Tom
Reply to  thezwimmer
2 years ago

Do they go smoothly anywhere? We had a merger out here in New England Swimming that lasted a grand total of one season while resulting in half of the coaching staff resigning and the Age Group director suing the team for defamation. I think that set the gold standard for failed mergers.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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