Indy Aquatic Masters was named the 2014 USMS Local Club of the Year at this year's US Masters Swimming (USMS) Convention in Florida. With the idea that great clubs lead to a strong USMS membership, USMS enacted it's Club of the Year program in 2006. "Successful USMS clubs," according to the USMS website, "develop programs that draw people in, support their swimmers, and set standards for other clubs to follow." These exemplary programs serve, educate, and build membership in USMS. The Club of the Year award recognizes the efforts of the great clubs that embody these attributes and the distinction honors a club for more than a single year's accomplishments. Teams can be recognized with USMS Club of the Year award once every 5 years.
With the wide variety of Masters programs across the country, USMS has expanded their program to recognize two Club of the Year recipients each year - one Local and one Regional. Local Clubs are those, like Indy Aquatic Masters, where members represent the club at every level of competition from local meets through to national and international competitions. In a Regional Club, members represent their workout group or team at meets within their Local Masters Swimming Committee (LMSC), but represent the Club at Zone, National, or International meets.
Among the accomplishments that set Indy Aquatic Masters apart from other nominated programs are:
- Our Unique Structure: IAM offers over 40 practices at 7 locations per week.locations we offer to our members.
- Our Exceptional Growth: We've experienced 200% growth since our inception (from 150 members to 380+).
- Our Dedication to USMS Ideals: Being all inclusive at practices in terms of both age and ability levels, IAM is dedicated to making everyone feel welcome.
- Our Dedication to Providing Quality On-Deck Coaches: All IAM coaches are certified USMS Level 1 & 2 and most have earned their USMS Level 3 certifications. In addition, our Head Coach is Level 4 ASCA certified and both Mel and George have attained their Level 5 ASCA certifications. IAM encourages all of our coaches to continue their certification education, as well as attend ASCA clinics in the area. Coaches have attended ASCA Backstroke (2013) and Freestyle Clinics (2012), and our Head Coach attends the ASCA World Clinic each year (and disseminates that information to the rest of our coaching staff).
- Our Commitment to the Sport of Swimming - This commitment is evidenced by the number of IAM members who serve our sport the local and national levels. Local level representatives include Jim Barber (GRIN President), Cheryl Gettelfinger (GRIN Records Chairperson), and Brian Cummings (GRIN Coaches Representative). IAM's national level representatives include Nadine Day (USMS President), Ben Christoffel (USMS Media), Mel Goldstein (Past USMS President / Current USMS Club Development and Coaches' Services), Brian Cummings (USMS Coaches Committee), Robin Walker (USMS Fitness Committee), Cheryl Gettelfinger (USMS Election Chairperson), and Dean Hawks (USMS World Championships Coach)
- Our Commitment to the Greater Indianapolis Community - This commitment is demonstrated through our support of Joy's House, the Verbal Behavior Center for Autism, Red Door, and Thanksgiving food collections, as well as the Adult Learn-to-Swim program that started in April 2014 will soon be offering the third session of lessons (2 lessons per week over a five-week period).
With all of those accomplishments, the Indy Aquatic Masters' staff is truly aware that our members are what make this program truly unique. This is definitely a team effort and the IAM staff thanks of all of our members for being part of the program. You are truly what makes IAM a special program and we love working with you every day!
By Karen Gernert
Indy Aquatic Masters
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