WATCH: Taylor Ruck, Dylan Melin, Connor Stirling Race Backyard 40-Yard Free

With the worldwide coronavirus quarantine forcing top-level swimmers to find alternate ways to train and race, a few top-level talents are making do with an Arizona backyard.

Canada’s Olympic bronze medalist Taylor Ruck is the headliner. The 19-year-old rising star was set to be one of the most exciting young swimmers in contention for this summer’s Olympic medals after winning 8 Commonwealth Games medals and 5 Pan Pacs medals in 2018, followed by three 2019 Worlds bronzes on relays.

Ruck was previously training at Canada’s Ontario High Performance Center, but that group was sent home last week after Canada canceled its Olympic Trials and later announced that the nation would not participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics as they are currently scheduled.

Ruck returned to Arizona, where she swam as an age grouper and high schooler. She’s now connected with Nate Moore, a longtime club coach in Arizona.

Moore is coaching a small group of swimmers out of a backyard pool – the pool itself is owned by the Kim Courtney Swim School, an early swimming spot for a young Ruck. The group also includes Arizona state champ, high school senior and West Virginia signee Dylan Melin and BYU junior Connor Stirlingwho trained with Moore in high school.

While making sure to not exceed group size limits recommended by the CDC, Moore says his group is finding a way to train – and also a way to stay connected in the midst of the pandemic.

“We all work together through adversity,” Moore said. “We support each other, and we want to stick together to work through any difficulties.

I guess what this is really all about is all of us coming together from all different directions because we all share goals of working hard, doing everything we can to train in a safe environment, and being there for each other so we all know we are never alone.”

Check out this race video of the three, competing in a 40-yard race – two laps in the 20-yard backyard pool. Stirling is in the middle lane, Melin in the closest lane to the camera and Ruck in the far outside lane at the top:

Below is a photo of the group, plus Moore’s garage, which is the team’s makeshift weight room.

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1 year ago

How is swimming with a pedophile coach a safe environment?

1 year ago

That’s Right! Connor Stirling with the win.

1 year ago

Interesting discussion over pool size. Into the late ’60s, and maybe into the early ’70s, there were multiple interesting tank variations recognized by swimming authority groups, before significant step were taken to bring conformity to recognition of swim performances. A few years later, record keeping was dropped in the US on all but SCY and LCM, with SCM making a bit of a comeback in more recent times due primarily to other parts of the world picking up on short course swimming but not having a yards mentality.

1. What is in the pool? At one point, there were separate world records recognized for pools with salt water and fresh water, which of course had significantly different buoyancy effects. It… Read more »

Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

Can Taylor Ruck redshirt again for 2021 Olympics?

Hawaiian Reeves
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 year ago

She can petition to take an additional year off from Stanford (you may take up to two years off. More than that requires petitioning the school for readmittance.) but I think she eventually forfeits a year of swimming eligibility. Redshirt rules stipulate that you have 5 years to complete 4 years of competition. If she takes another year off but needs 4 academic years to graduate, she would be off scholarship her final year, which is expensive as a non-US citizen. She would not be eligible for federal loans, Pell grants, etc.

I think her best move would be to come back for Summer quarter, assuming Stanford holds summer classes on campus this year. Lots of Stanford athletes do… Read more »

1 year ago

You could say their race pace training is ultra short…I think they might be on to something here!

Post apocalyptic swimfan
1 year ago

Those are some large swimmers for a small pool. Melin is 6ft 5in.

Reply to  Post apocalyptic swimfan
1 year ago

I love your freshly mint name ….made me giggle 😅

1 year ago

They need better lane ropes.

Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

and that is exactly why us old timers call them lane ropes instead of lane lines 😳

Old Swimmer
1 year ago

Back in the dark ages when I used to swim, there were a few pools in Northern Minnesota that were 20 yards. Who knows? They may still be there! Instead of 50 yard freestyle, it was competed as 60 yard freestyle. I preferred the 25 yard pools as I did not have to do as many flip turns

Har Teels
Reply to  Old Swimmer
1 year ago

Can confirm as someone who just graduated swimming 25 lengths for the 500 :-/

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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