Club Wolverine, once known for housing Olympic legends such as Michael Phelps and Peter Vanderkaay, is now the home to a different sort of elite training group. The Ann Arbor based club, which has 1 single location and around 350-400 athletes in total, boasts a top national group of over 50 swimmers.
Gunnar Schmidt, the head coach for the national group, said he never expected it to grow that big. But as the top group has grown, Schmidt and the club have grown around it, making it functional on all levels. With 2-3 other coaches assisting the group, the athletes feel they get the attention they need to grow as individuals and not get lost in the shuffle. It’s also been instilled that if the athletes want to maximize their growth, they have to take responsibility upon themselves to pay attention to the details, even when a coach isn’t looking. The seniors enjoy having such a big group, as there is always someone to race, or feed off of their energy during a hard set, or learn from. With so many high schools in the area, many of them compete for different schools during the high school season, and in turn are able to bring what they learned from their high school teams and coaches back with them to Club Wolverine.
The cherry on top of the team camaraderie is the line swim. A line swim is a senior led swim in which the whole team warms down together, as in swimming at exactly the same pace and all starting and finishing at the exact same time. Even if the athletes are split up and doing different work outs for their main sets, the entire team can come together at the end of practice to warm down. It is a reminder that even if they’re doing different work, they are all still one team.