Club Excellence Spotlight: The Woodlands Swim Team
By Emily Sampl//Correspondent
The Woodlands Swim Team has long been a force in swimming in the state of Texas, and the team got even more recognition this past weekend when Katie Ledecky set two world records at The Woodlands Swim Team Senior Invite.
“We wanted to create a meet where 18-and-unders could come and swim against each other, and college kids returning home could represent their home teams,” said head coach Tim Bauer. “The meet started off at about 225 kids, and now it’s up to 400. [The world record swims were] really neat to see. After that, I got several phone calls from coaches asking if they could come to the meet!”
With 21 years under his belt at TWST, Bauer has created a family environment that has attracted some of the top swimmers in Texas to the team, as well as athletes like Ledecky to its meets.
This year, The Woodlands was recognized as a Silver Medal Club in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program. Bauer discusses The Woodlands’ emphasis on team and other factors in the club’s success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
1. We treat our team like a family. One of our big mottos is there’s no “I” in team. We do a lot of social gatherings as a group, from loading up all 250 kids on buses and going to a meet together to having pancake breakfasts after Saturday practice to going to Astros games. Anything that we can come up with that will promote the team and promote us as a family.
Also, every group rotates out to the outdoor pool, so every group gets to see our very best kids on a daily basis. When the national group gets out, the 8-and-unders are getting in. Our older kids are very involved with the younger kids, and that absolutely helps build our team/family atmosphere.
2. Stability in coaching. I’ve been at The Woodlands 21 years now. Shana Trabona, our head age group coach, has been here 23 years. A lot of the staff swam for the team and are now coaching. We have a very stable program.
3. Consistent training facilities. We’ve been able to create consistent “water” where we were at the Woodlands Athletic Club for a number of years, and now we’re at the school district natatorium. We always have a place to train.
4. We have an incredible volunteer group. They really stay out of the coaches’ way, and they work very hard on the dry side of the sport and let the coaches run the wet side. They’re willing to put their money where their mouth is, whether it’s bringing in a nutritionist or weight coach, or buying new equipment. They put the money wherever it will better the team.
5. The Woodlands Community. The Woodlands community itself is a very driven, focused community. A lot of kids are involved in a lot of activities, and they have the kind of parents who want their kids to succeed.