By Emily Sampl/Contributor | Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Since the club was first established in 1999, Aquazot Swim Club in Irvine, Calif., has continued to pile up accolades, including an induction this year into the 2016 Club Excellence Podium Club, a prestigious group in which only eight clubs are a part. Aquazot finished eighth overall in the 2016 Club Excellence standings, the team’s fourth consecutive year earning gold medal recognition.
Aquazot placed Sonia Wang on the 2015-2016 National Junior Team in both the 200m and 400m IM, while head coach Brian Pajer was named a National Junior Team coach. Pajer, who founded the club 17 years ago, credits the team’s consistent teaching model, high expectations and more with creating a successful club, which he details in this week’s Club Excellence spotlight.1. Great Coaches. All of the Aquazot coaches are focused on helping their students learn, enjoy and succeed at the sport of swimming each and every day. Our staff meets regularly to discuss new ideas for our program, and to find ways to better serve our members.
2. A consistent teaching model. We teach our coaches, and through them the athletes, a progressive teaching model that emphasizes technique first and builds on the training component as each child advances through the program. We have made changes to this model as necessary to stay current with advances in the sport, and to keep the program fresh and interesting for the athletes.
3. Great parental and swimmer role models. Our new families have benefited greatly by the leadership of our core group of families and swimmers who have been with Aquazot for eight years or more. Each October at the first meet of the fall season, we set up a 'mentor program,’ where our senior swimmers attend the meet to guide the 12and under Azot athletes through one day of the meet. This helps the new families and swimmers understand the USA swimming meet process and draws the whole Aquazot team closer together.
4. High expectations throughout our program. We want every Aquazot swimmer to dream big dreams, set big goals and expect success. We are located in an area with great schools and high academic standards. We want every child to see the connection between academic and athletic success, and pursue each with equal confidence.
5. Great partnerships. USA Swimming and Southern California Swimming are two of the organizations that, through their many swim club support programs, have helped us continue to successfully serve our members. We also really value our strong relationships with the local school districts, universities and summer leagues that are all so important to every swim club’s success.