Dear NAC Families –

NAC is proud to have been recognized this year as a USA Swimming Gold Medal Club of Excellence!

There are over 2,800 USA Swimming club teams and the Club Excellence program ranks the top 200 clubs in terms of performance, awarding them the level of either Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal.  Gold Medal Clubs are those who are ranked in the Top 20 teams.

NAC has been recognized as a Gold Medal Club in 16 of the 18 years of the program’s existence and is something we are very proud of, especially considering our overall team size.  Oftentimes, we find the other teams on the list to be two, three, sometimes nearly 10 times (seriously!) the number of athletes that we have on our team. I believe the reason we have been able to be consistent in this ranking is our focus on the long term development of our athletes.

An understanding of our philosophy on long­ term athlete development is necessary to understand how our program is structured, as well as where your athlete fits into this progression.  Long term athlete development has two main areas of focus: skill development and training development. While other areas of focus exist outside of these two, such as life skills development, these two main areas of focus form the foundation of the swimming portion of our program.  Neither skill development or training development can be identified as more important than the other when viewed in terms of long­ term athlete development. However, it is easier to prioritize skill development for 12 and Under athletes and training development for 13 and Over athletes.

Research at USA Swimming has found that athletes who are the most successful long term essentially have the exact same stroke technique strengths at 12 years old as they do when they reach their world class level. While weaknesses may exist as a 12 year old, it is these weaknesses that get ironed out in the process of pursuing a higher level of swimming success. Therefore, it is a priority in our program to ensure that 12 and Under athletes have the lion’s share of the skills and stroke development that they will need for long term success.

It is very difficult for an athlete who has done tens or hundreds of thousands of repetitions incorrectly to change as a senior level athlete!

The other reason that I feel we have been successful is that we do not put a ceiling on the potential of swimmers in any of our training groups.  We have always found that having high performing athletes, or a group of high performing athletes, within a training group only works to elevate the rest of the group.  It is at the top of a training group that our athletes learn some valuable life lesson skills including, but not limited to, things such as leadership, self awareness, and active listening.

I want to say thank you to all of the families – parents and athletes – who have bought into our philosophy over the past forty years, but truly over the last twenty.  It has allowed us to be consistently recognized as one of the best teams in the country and we couldn’t have done it, or continue to do it, without their support and yours.

John Morse