By Emily Sampl/Contributor | Friday, May 20, 2016
The Sandpipers of Nevada have experienced exponential growth since head coach Ron Aitken first came to the team in the mid 1990s, and with that growth has come a wave of success. In addition to placing Erin Emery on the 2015-2016 National Junior Team in open water, the Sandpipers also achieved their first-ever gold medal ranking in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program this year.
Aitken provides five keys to the Sandpipers’ success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
1. Stability in our staff. We have had little or no turnover in coaching positions over the last 20 years.
2. Head coach and vision. You have to see where you are going. As the head coach of this team I have always set a path of goals; as we move down that, we move right through each goal on to the next one with a vision of what that looks like each step of the way. Never looking back for too long except to remember the mistakes that we have made along the way.
3. Statistics. I'm a big statistics guy and always evaluate our team and its numbers - from new members, current members and lost membership to statistics on best times, average of power points and the path our swimmers have taken to reach their potential and how we could have done better for each one of them.
4. Other programs. Other programs raise the bar across the nation. I constantly evaluate why I feel other programs are ahead of us and try to figure out how to implement new things into our program that might make us better.
5. Hard work. There is no reason to beat around the bush on this one. Our program instills the old school philosophy of teaching our athletes the value of hard work. Our coaches work hard for them and we expect them to work hard for us. Our swimmers are not all exceptionally talented, they have just worked extremely hard to get where they are.