Club Excellence Spotlight: Swim Atlanta
With more than 2,800 registered swimmers and seven different training sites, SwimAtlanta is likely the largest competitive swim team in the country. With a huge program and highly experienced coaching staff, the club has risen once again to gold medal recognition, finishing third in the 2014 Club Excellence program.
Chris Davis, who has been with the program since 1977, has brought on numerous SwimAtlanta alumni to coach each of the seven locations, and achieving gold medal status has become a priority within the team.
“We are extremely appreciative of the Club Excellence program – it has helped us hire different coaches, purchase weight equipment and digital clocks, and given us the funding we need to succeed; all things that have helped us become a better team,” Davis said. “It’s made us better!”
Davis discusses the other factors leading to SwimAtlanta’s success in this week’s Club Excellence spotlight.
1. Our numbers. When you have 2,800 swimmers, you’d think that if you do a decent job coaching, you’d have somebody go fast.
2. The way the team is set up. We’re in seven locations, and each location is almost like a separate SwimAtlanta. Each location has it all; seven locations, seven head coaches, and the support when all of those coaches get together. There’s the separatism and competition within the locations, but the ability to all come together at a meet as one team
3. SwimAtlanta Alumni. I’ve been very lucky in that I now have almost a dozen former SwimAtlanta swimmers on the coaching staff who came up through the program. By design, I’ve tried hard to bring people in that can adopt the SwimAtlanta philosophy, and that’s easy when they grew up in the program.
4. Lesson Program. Jennifer Williams runs our lesson programs, and this year she topped 10,000 lessons; we’re kind of a one-stop shop. From lessons to pre-competitive, we can recognize talent and help move them up through the team.
5. Pride. We see ourselves as a gold medal club. There’s only been one year in the 11 or 12 that we weren’t a gold medal club. We sat down as a coaching staff, and were embarrassed that of all of our swimmers, we didn’t have someone make one of the times (required for gold medal status); we really made [Club Excellence] a goal since then.