By Emily Sampl/Contributor | Friday, July 29, 2016
After a successful Olympic Trials meet in which six swimmers competed, the Academy Bullets Swim Club in Illinois has its sights set on finishing off the summer on a high note.
“Olympic Trials is obviously such an important meet. By focusing on Trials we bring more opportunities and different training techniques back from the swimmers at this level,” said owner Bill Schalz. “We have NCSA Junior Nationals, US Open, Sectionals and the age group state meets coming up now. After the meets [our coaches] go on a three day retreat and plan for the next quad.”
Schalz and his coaching staff have molded about 700 swimmers across seven different training sites, and the team’s results have produced a top 16 ranking among USA Swimming’s Gold Medal Club Excellence programs.
“Our team goal was to be a gold medal club, and moving forward our goal is to be a podium club,” said Schalz. “Some of the things we’ll discuss in August include both those things. Over the last eight years we’ve done some great work with our college kids and our goal moving forward is to move up those kids even more and have a shot to make the Olympic team.”
Schalz outlines several keys to the team’s success in this week’s Club Excellence spotlight.
Coach owned. This allows me to make decisions quickly without having to go to a board every time. It’s also allowed Todd [Capen] and I the opportunity to not have to sell our program to the board, etc. We can move quickly to establish our goals and objectives without going back and forth with the board.
Our staff. Todd is our head coach, and we have multiple locations in multiple cities. He’s the guys that works with each head coach and coordinates with them, coordinating and scheduling and making sure that we’re all following the same policies and guidelines. He’s the glue that holds all the sites together. We also have great coaches who work well together, which is really important.
The culture of our team. We have a championship culture. Our goal is to create an environment where each swimmer can reach the highest level of competition they desire. Helping swimmers get better is part of our team culture.
Our families. It’s one thing to have a vision and a culture, but at the end of the day it’s the parents who are there supporting us. We fund raise hundreds of thousands of dollars; part of that comes from running meets, and our parents run awesome meets. We can’t do that without the parents buying in.