SwimSwam Podcast: How TAC Titans Develops Their Top-Level Talent

On SwimSwam Podcast, we’re giving you an in-depth listen at all things swimming. Host Coleman Hodges welcomes guests and guest co-hosts alike to get perspective on our ever-changing swimming universe and break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Bruce Marchionda, head coach at the club that has been producing a lot of top-level talent recently, the TAC Titans. He talked with us about developing athletes during his time at Clemson, Western Kentucky (including 2012 Olympic champion Claire Donohue), and now at TAC Titans, where he works with athletes such as national teamers Claire Curzan and Charlotte Hook.

Music: Otis McDonald
www.otismacmusic.com

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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NC Dad
2 years ago

So many comments and I was sad to see all the hate. I’m going to tell our story here and people can take it as they will.

We had never thought about joining TAC – they are almost an hour away from our home and we loved (and still love our former team). When we found ourselves having to drive our son (who doesn’t swim) to an activity near the TAC pool six days a week, we began struggling with picking up different kids in two different parts of town each evening. Our girls (who swim) both were in tears and begged not to go to TAC. My wife and I – having heard and accepted the sorts of… Read more »

SWIMFAN5
2 years ago

Wow, learned a lot on this thread. Teams can give performance-based scholarships? Not questioning if it is legal, it just is surprising to hear. Our team gives fee reductions to lower income families on a sliding scale. There are teams that charge up to $4,000? I can see why swimmers would need scholarships. Our team’s highest group is around $1,000 and I thought that was high, although I know other teams in our state do charge more, but I doubt over $2,000. No Olympians on our team, but trials qualifiers and many that go on to swim D1. Surprised about all the talk on recruiting. Plenty of teams in our area or within driving distance, but coaches are pretty respectful… Read more »

Tom McGowan
2 years ago

What is interesting to me is how the “break” from swimming this Spring ended up being a great thing for most of these swimmers. Perhaps the lesson here is that it is okay for swimmers to take a break and mix things up a little. Swimming is a grind and we lose a lot of young swimmers to burnout. There is an obsessiveness to our fear of missing days in the water…maybe it doesn’t need to be that way. Also, as I understand it, TAC Titans has been limited to one-a-day workouts (NOT 2)…and look what is happening, the y are swimming faster and improving. Maybe 2 a day workouts are over-rated???

MarkB
Reply to  Tom McGowan
2 years ago

Maybe all the two a days laid the base for this fast swimming.

Jim
2 years ago

How is this not an NCAA violation when it comes time to be recruited by a college?

Howard
2 years ago

The point here isn’t that TAC is having success..they are obviously, but someone brought up a really great question.

How many other teams in the country have a facility like TAC and allow top swimmers to have minimal to zero fees. As someone mentioned that’s basically a scholarship. 2500-4000 a year scholarship.

SwimSwam… would love to hear about one other club team that does this let alone has the facility they have. If many others…well it’s about the program…if not…it’s about more than the program. Recruiting swimmers isn’t just active, can be passive…scholarship and amazing pool is recruiting without saying a word.

It’s legal..so good for them..but as people mentioned…this fact worth way more than listening to 30 minutes… Read more »

swimapologist
Reply to  Howard
2 years ago

This is quite literally the most obnoxious train of complaining in the history of SwimSwam.

So your complaint is that they have a better facility, coaches who have coached a swimmer to an Olympic gold medal, great swimmers who chose that team over the others, and lower dues, and you somehow anticipate that this is going to deter people from registering there and register for your clubs instead?

This is why there college programs are getting cut. This is why there is very little money to be made as a pro swimmer. Swimming isn’t a business, it’s a charity. Or apparently that’s what y’all wanna keep it.

To be clear: I have no dog in this fight. I’m not affiliated… Read more »

MarkB
Reply to  Howard
2 years ago

Mission Viejo in the ‘70’s is the blueprint for this.

Smith-King--Dahlia-Manuel
2 years ago

It’s high time for some updated LCM performances. The athletes at the Summer Olympic Games don’t compete in the kiddie pool.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I can confirm the other commenter. Live in the raleigh area and as an age group swimmer during the creation of Tac I watched it unfold. Here’s what I saw and heard.

1. In creating their team, Tac kicked two extremely well established year round teams out of the aquatic center, forcing them to find new pools on short notice. They did this by skyrocketing lane prices and claiming the majority of lanes for their new swim team.

2. As the team developed, multiple stories came out about Tac coaches openly recruiting swimmers from the two (decimated) teams as well as some others in the area. Claire came from one.

4. Now that Tac is a well entrenched team, I… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

The North Carolina club swimming community never ceases to amaze me with their passion for attacking the ‘top dog.’

For years, they were hellbent on taking down SwimMAC. Now, the hordes have moved on to TAC. I’m sure once TAC is no longer the top dog, everyone will go after the new club.

Anonymous
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Maybe you’re right. In the end, raleigh specifically is becoming a great place to swim regardless of inter-team dynamics.

Last edited 2 years ago by Anonymous
NC Fan
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Though, if you know North Carolina, Braden, you’ll know that the Triangle does hate comparisons to the Charlotte area that makes the two areas seem similar. As one of the other commenters said, TAC knew how to build a business. That’s a pretty big distinction from MAC which knew how to build great swimming but kinda failed at the business side. As with many businesses TAC did it with sharp elbows and at the direct expense of other local clubs that had been treating it as a collegial rather than dog-eat-dog business. But hey, that’s just business. TAC has great water and a great facility (other than bad bleachers) and they made the most of it. Yes, they make it… Read more »

Rookie
Reply to  NC Fan
2 years ago

Those bleachers really do stink. Did they ever begin work to redo them or start the new outdoor pool?

NCSwimmer103
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago
I could only think of one reason why these "top dogs" are always being targeted.  Its in their DNAs that they implemented a tactic to purge competitions.  We have already discussed how TAC kicked the other 2 teams from their facility.  As far as SwimMAC is concerned, here is the reference to swimswam article - (https://swimswam.com/swimmac-signs-5-4-million-rental-agreement-with-huntersville-facility/)
Fair business decision or a dirty tactic to get the fastest swimmers from the displaced teams?
Rookie
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Well, it is the Triangle – home to UNC, Duke, and NC State, who all hate each other. So, you could say they come by it naturally.

Anonymous
2 years ago

As a swimmer at the second meet they had. On the other team that was there. The swimmers from TAC were not social distancing during warm up. He said that they have been trying three in a lane one at each end. That is false they all stared at the same side. I have a picture as well.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmmmm
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Isn’t that a Safe Sport violation to have a camera on deck taking pictures of minors at a swim meet?

Admin
Reply to  Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmmmm
2 years ago

No, it is not.

The USA Swimming Code of Conduct only makes mention of photography and video recording as it relates to changing areas, rest rooms, or locker rooms. As ‘deck changes’ are no longer allowed, this does not include “on deck.”

Clubs or meet hosts can have more restrictive guidelines of their own. Those guidelines would not rise to the level of “Safe Sport violation,” though the guidelines are sort of under the SafeSport umbrella. I don’t know what the TAC policies were for this meet.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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