Club Excellence Spotlight: Dynamo Swim Club
For the third year in a row, Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta has earned the highest level of recognition by USA Swimming, achieving Gold Medal status in the Club Excellence program.
Dynamo proved once again this summer that it’s one of the premier teams in the country, winning the men’s and overall team titles at the 2013 Speedo Junior National Championships, adding to their titles in 2010 and 2011.
The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and currently trains around 400 swimmers at each of its two sites in Chamblee and Alpharetta. Associate Head Coach Beth Winkowski, now in her ninth season at Dynamo, has seen the team grow from a group of hardworking swimmers to smarter swimmers and coaches.
“When I first got here, I think the kids were very invested in working hard,” she said. “They really valued grinding it out in practice. I think we’ve been able to add to that, and really emphasize that you don’t necessarily have to train harder, but smarter. How can we be more effective than just grinding out another 5,000 yards every practice?”
Winkowski describes how Dynamo trains both its athletes and staff to be smarter swimmers and coaches and other keys to the club’s success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
1. We make a huge commitment to educate our coaches. It’s an ongoing process throughout the year. We took our entire staff to the ASCA clinic this fall, and we bring experts in to meet with our staff. We get together every week for a staff meeting that includes administrative stuff and coaching education – we may bring in video clips, or an article that we’ve read, or something like that, and it’s a time for us to share ideas and talk.
2. We’re very committed to trying out new ideas. Many times the experts we bring in have conflicting ideas on certain skills, but we ask the coaches to try them out and evaluate them and adjust them for our swimmers.
3. Our kids and families have a great tradition of excellence. We don’t have to knock ourselves out trying to convince our kids that they’re here to be excellent. That doesn’t mean everyone has to go to Olympic Trials, but just be as good as they can be, honor their teammates and commit to the team. One thing the kids and staff takes a lot of pride in is being a team at meets – doing team cheers, sitting together, having team goals, etc. That’s something that we’ve gotten a lot of comments on from other teams at meets and we really take pride in that.
4. We kick a lot! A lot of programs do it, but if there’s something that sets us apart it’s the amount of kicking we do. We start at an early age, and we do a great deal of intensity with kick sets. For our younger kids, some of the hardest things they do at practice any given day might be kicking.
5. We’re really committed to helping the kids become not just good swimmers, but good athletes. We have a great dryland program, and the idea is that it’s not just about swimming, but being a functional athlete. If you are a great athlete, you can develop your swimming skills to go along with that. We have a very strong commitment to dryland, and doing it well.