By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Wednesday, January 30, 2019
SwimMAC Carolina continues its reign as one of the top teams in the U.S., with yet another top ranking in the Club Excellence program. After a string of first-place finishes in recent years, the team garnered a second-place showing in 2019.
2019 Ranking: 2nd
2018 Ranking: 2nd
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina area
Current National Team Swimmers: Madison Kennedy
Current Junior Swimmers to Watch: Tim Connery, Ellie Vannote, Grace Rainey, Maddy Flickinger, John Walker, Hugh Svendsen, Boyd Poelke
Recent Team Accomplishments: Finished 11th overall at the recent Winter National Championships; placed second overall in the women’s, men’s and combined team standings at the East Speedo Winter Junior National Championships last month.
What enables your team to keep up this streak of finishing among the top clubs year after year?
“SwimMAC Carolina has been in existence for 40+ years and continues to build a strong tradition of excellence at the local, national and international levels,” said senior coach Kathy McKee. “Our previous Olympians, national champions, national team and national junior team members serve as role models for our younger swimmers. They have paved the way to allow the up-and-coming swimmers to dream and believe that they can also reach for similar standards. Being a gold medal club is important to our program, and we set it as a goal for our team.”
What are four things that set SwimMAC Carolina apart from other club teams in the U.S.?
1. Long term development – Many of our swimmers join our program through our Swim School and Junior Swim League, and then proceed to the competitive team. We work hard to establish a strong foundation through education and stroke mechanics that will serve them well as they move through our program and sport. We want to give our swimmers the foundational skills to be the best swimmers they can be when they are senior swimmers by emphasizing technique first and then building on the training as swimmers progress through our program. In addition to proper technique for all four strokes, we prioritize good practice habits, kicking, turns and underwater work. All swimmers will focus on all four strokes with the IM being the most important event.
2. Coaching staff and professional development – We have a strong and committed coaching staff. Our coaches work together as a team and collaborate and share knowledge with each other – contributing to our success. There is also an expectation for continuing to learn and grow our coaching skills. We offer educational opportunities for our coaches by bringing in experts to our program. In addition, coaches are strongly encouraged to read, watch videos and find other ways to grow in the sport.
3. Dryland – We have put an emphasis on dryland, and we are fortunate to have dryland partners. Much of what the swimmers are doing has translated into swimmers having a stronger core and better bodyline, both of which correlates to their technique in the pool.
4. Curriculum – We have a progressive curriculum that guides our practice group structure from our beginning levels to our senior practice groups. We want to make sure there is a logical progression in technique, training, dryland, competition and all aspects of what we teach our swimmers. Our coaches have a road map to follow and we have common terminology, but then each coach throws in their special flare to the groups they lead. It is important to review and update the curriculum as needed.