Club Excellence Spotlight: Davis Aquadarts
By Emily Sampl//Correspondent
The aquatics-friendly city of Davis, Calif. is home to the Davis Aquadarts, one of the top swim clubs in the Sierra Nevada region and a silver medal club in the 2013 USA Swimming Club Excellence program. The Aquadarts recently celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary with another banner year, highlighted by the team’s highest finish ever at the Speedo Junior Short Course National Championships in December, and eight student-athletes earning college swim scholarships.
Head coach Billy Doughty has been at the Aquadarts’ helm since 2009 and has continued to build the team into one of the strongest in California. Below are his five keys to success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
1. Davis has a great aquatics community. We’re a town of about 35,000 people but we have the largest masters team in the country with Davis Aquatic Masters. The buy-in from the aquatics community is pretty substantial for such a small town.
2. Our summer recreational program has about 650 kids. Our director is Carolee Gregg; she’s managed the program for 20 years and does a great job introducing the kids to the sport.
3. Team goals. We set group goals for our senior group at the beginning of each season. This fall, our goal was to finish in the top 10 teams for the combined title at Junior Nationals, and we finished eighth. Having the kids buy into team and individual performance goals has been really important.
4. Race the best. We’ve committed to traveling to make sure that we’re racing the best teams – at Juniors, Nationals and Arena Grand Prix meets. And we’re trying to get down to the Bay area and race the best teams in California pretty consistently.
5. Dryland. Over the last few years we have made a commitment to dryland and improving the overall fitness and athleticism of our athletes. We rent a cross fit gym here in town and have our senior level kids work out there.