By Emily Sampl/Contributor | Thursday, September 8, 2016
It’s been quite a summer for the Nashville Aquatic Club in Nashville, Tenn., as the team is coming off one of its most successful seasons yet. NAC placed two swimmers – Allie Raab and Alex Walsh – on the U.S. National Junior Team, earned two medals at the recent Junior Pan Pacific Championships, qualified three swimmers for the semi-finals at Olympic Trials and set four national age group records, just a few of the highlights which has led the team to gold medal standing in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program.
“Our developmental program is primed with new energy to fuel our success for years to come, and we are excited about the potential of our 12-and-under athletes as they develop into senior swimmers,” said associate coach Doug Wharam.Wharam and head coach John Morse have worked to build and carry on the tradition of success at NAC, a team that has produced over a dozen Olympians, including the great Tracy Caulkins. Wharam highlights some of the keys to the program’s continued success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
Long-term development. A program can only be as successful as the people that it’s comprised of, so having the members, parents and swimmers alike on the same page for long term development is key. Understanding where an athlete is in the process of the program and the sport, and where it can take them has been an integral part of creating a competitive and successful environment from the bottom to the top.
Stroke development. As a club, we prioritize the basics and fundamentals of stroke technique. This way, athletes are all establishing and creating good habits at a young age. This helps in fostering a positive development and growth within the sport, limiting plateaus due to technique.
Partner development. We work hard to forge bonds with members of the national and local community to provide our athletes with the tools they need to be successful. BridgeAthletic has been integral in helping our athletes achieve our goals, and our sport psychologist, Abbi Tuohy, has also helped our senior athletes become better teammates and better training partners.
Staff development. The core members of our staff have now been together for a minimum of seven years. This allows for consistency throughout the program, top to bottom.
Family support. Our parents, known as our MeetCrew, are renowned for running highly efficient and successful meets, and we draw clubs from all parts of the country multiple times a year because of this reputation. They also provide immeasurable administrative and financial support. Our families know and understand the long-term benefits swimming offers, and view their time put in as helping not only their child, but the community's development as well. Many of Nashville's most successful people have been or are currently involved in our sport and many with our team directly.