WATCH: Fitter and Faster Age Group Coach of the Year Award

Rachel Harvill
by Rachel Harvill 2

September 10th, 2016 Club, News

On September 8th, ten finalists and winner of the Fitter and Faster Age Group Coach of the Year Award were recognized at the American Swimming Coaches Association World Clinic Awards Banquet in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This year’s winner was Sherwood Watts of Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swim Team.

To determine the nominees for this award, top performing age group swim teams were identified by Fitter and Faster using the USA Swimming Virtual Club Championship team rank for 11-14 year old swimmers. They then identified the head age group coaches of the top 60 teams, resulting in a poll of 85 coaches.

Sherwood Watts is not unfamiliar to accolades of this nature, having been named the Florida Age Group Coach of the Year seven times and the Florida 3A High School Coach of the year twice. He began his coaching career with the Sarasota YMCA, where he is currently the is the head age group coach of the Sarasota YMCA. After his initial stint with SYS, he went on to coach at the Joliet YMCA on and off from 1978-1985. In 1984, he was named the Illinois Age Group Coach of the Year.

Watts returned to Sarasota in 1985, and has been coaching there ever since. He led the team to twelve Florida Swimming Junior Olympic Titles, and holds a prestigious American Swimming Coaches’ Association rating of level 5  in the Age Group Division.

Check out the video of Watts receiving his award below!



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The criteria for nomination is not only unfair, it doesn’t make any sense. In order to be nominated, you have to be a top 60 team in the country? The details of the criteria for nomination specifically state a system that allows coaches of smaller teams that are producing ‘pound for pound’ talent to be nominated. These coaches are automatically eliminated with the top 60 rule. It is advertised as such: ‘Virtual Club Championship rankings per athlete, thus rewarding smaller clubs that are producing a high density of quality performances.’ So, you can score anywhere from 50,000-200,000 VCC points with your 11-14 groups (the basic range of the nominated coaches…give or take), but if your team is not in the… Read more »


You can be in the top 60 with less than 200 swimmers. The team I swim for has less than 200 athletes and is ranked in the top 30. Granted we are growing an may break the 200 mark in the next few years, we are still pretty small compared to other teams in the area, and we have BOTH of our age group coaches on this list.

About Rachel Harvill

Rachel Harvill

Rachel has been swimming ever since she can remember. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she learned to love swimming with the Walnut Creek Aquabears. She took her passion for swimming to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where she primarily competes in sprint freestyle events. In addition …

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