Club Excellence Spotlight: Lakeside Swim Team
By Emily Sampl//Correspondent
Over the course of its 85-year history, Lakeside Swim Team in Louisville, Ky., has built a rich tradition of excellence that includes placing alumni on the past three Olympic Teams (Rachel Komisarz, Caroline Burckle and Clark Burckle) and regularly earning Gold Medal recognition in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Program. Lakeside currently boasts a roster of about 400 kids, and recently expanded to a second training site.
What has been the key to their continued success?
“Consistency,” said Mike DeBoor, now in his 20th year as head coach. “We don’t really feel like we’re doing anything unique. If it’s going well, why change?”
DeBoor credits Lakeside’s dedicated parents and patient coaching staff with developing a strong core of swimmers. He discusses that and other keys to the team’s success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
1. Tradition of the team. The team was started in 1928 and has a long history of success with 10 Olympians coming through the program, including one on each of the last three Olympic teams. The expectations and community pride are there, and the kids come up through the program knowing that history and those expectations.
2. We’re patient and low-key with the younger kids. We have a great progression for the long-term development of each athlete. We really focus on race development and are a little more relaxed than some programs in terms of attendance, allowing them to play other sports and allowing them to switch around to different groups. We try to be as flexible as we can.
3. We really target the Virtual Club Championships. We’re usually in the top ten rankings for that, and are usually one of the only landlocked states in the top ten. Those rankings really tell us what our strengths are and where we need to improve.
4. High parent involvement. Over 50% of our families have parents who are certified officials. That really helps us run meets smoothly, and gets the parents more invested and involved in what the team is doing.
5. Educating our athletes, parents and coaches. In terms of overall education, we have a separate server where we post videos of the kids swimming at practice and meets, and the kids and parents can see that later. We also have a pretty extensive staff handbook that describes all of the drills we use, why we don’t use others, how much kicking we do, etc. As coaches, we do a lot of self-evaluation and critiquing of ourselves. We want everyone to be on the same page. We’ve also started doing more webinars within our own program, and our newsletter has also been converted to a webinar.