By Emily Sampl/Contributor | Friday, June 10, 2016
Scottsdale Aquatic Club, home to U.S. national age group record-holder Ryan Hoffer and recently named Canadian Olympic swimmer Taylor Ruck, has been making a lot of waves recently, and following another successful year by the club’s 18-and-under swimmers has earned Gold Medal recognition as part of USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program.
Scottsdale placed Hoffer (50m, 100m free and 100m fly) and Aaron Appel (1500m free) on the 2015-2016 National Junior Team, in addition to finishing second overall at the 2015 Speedo Winter Junior Championships in December. Meanwhile, Ruck was named to the Canadian Olympic swim team in April and will represent Canada in Rio.In addition to finding success on the national and international swimming scene, Scottsdale’s coaching staff and 400 swimmers also strive for success within USA Swimming.
“We strive each year to be a gold medal club, as we feel it’s a good measuring stick of our success as a club in helping swimmers reach the highest level,” said head coach Kevin Zacher. Zacher details other keys to SAC’s success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
1. Stability. I think the stability of our program over the past seven to eight years has had a huge impact on our program. People know what to expect from our club and coaching staff. We are consistent in what we do. Our coaching staff is stable; our pool situation is stable; our leadership (head coach, director of operations, board of directors) is stable.
2. TEAM. Together Everyone Achieves More. We believe in this idea. Our swimmers are taught and encouraged to work together to help everyone become better. If each swimmer helps their teammates become better, they themselves will also become better. We have created an environment of support for each swimmer to reach their individual goals - from qualifying for a local meet to making an Olympic team.
3. Positive Environment. We have a really positive energy and environment on deck that you can feel when you walk into the pool. The swimmers enjoy being at the pool. They enjoy being around their teammates. Our coaching staff is really positive and encouraging with their swimmers. One of the toughest challenges for swimmers reaching high school age is the amount of time they spend training in this sport. If the environment they have when training is positive and encouraging, it makes putting the time and effort in much more enjoyable.
4. Swimming Knowledge/Experience. Our coaching staff has tremendous swimming knowledge. Our head age group coach competed at the Olympics in swimming. We have three coaches on staff other than myself who have been head coaches of other clubs. The knowledge and passion our coaches have for swimming is invaluable. I feel extremely fortunate to have such a great coaching staff.
5. Organization. Our club is very structured. Swimmers are placed in training groups with other swimmers of similar age and ability. There are detailed requirements the swimmers must achieve before advancing to the next level. This ensures that the swimmers are prepared and know the expectations before advancing through the program. This structure really helps the athletes learn the things they need to be successful long-term in swimming.