Club Wolverine splashed into last week’s National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) championships with hopes to improve on last year’s ninth-place overall finish. The club, based in Ann Arbor, brought a loaded team to Indianapolis but knew even cracking the top 10 would be a huge accomplishment considering the quality of teams in the pool.
“Our team’s goal was to finish in the top five at Indy,” said Club Wolverine Coach Gunnar Schmidt. “We knew we had a really strong team this year and knew we could outperform many of the teams that were ahead of us from the prior year.”
Finishing in the top five was the goal but Schmidt admitted, “when I looked at the psych sheet I knew we had a shot at winning.”
Winning? As in first place?
Gunnar and his squad were hoping for top five but “gunning” the top spot.
“It’s a five day meet, and we usually see our fair share of ups and downs through the week,” he said. “The goal was to get the most out of our team each day, reset, and come back the next day to do it again.”
The goal moved up as the meet went along as Club Wolverine started adding up their accomplishments and understanding what they still had waiting on the pool deck.
“There was really no talk of winning the meet until day four,” Schmidt said. “We knew on day four that we had done well enough to be in contention. We have a great senior class that has been with us since day one. There was no better way for them to end their high school careers then on a win like this.”
Club Wolverine finished first overall in the women team rankings with 1,152.5 points. The men’s team splashed their way to a ninth-place finish overall with 332 points. The two teams combined to win the overall championship, a first for Club Wolverine.
Winning it all? Indeed – put it in the books.
READ ABOUT CLUB WOLVERINE COACH GUNNAR SCHMIDT: http://weloveannarbor.com/2018/08/08/club-wolverine-ncsa-champs-schmidt-has-made-quite-a-transition-from-swimmer-to-coach/
Club Wolverine was only one of two club teams to place in the top 10 in both women and men (New Trier Aquatics was the other). Schmidt won NCSA Coach of the Year.
“The key to winning this meet for us was team support,” he said. “There is no such thing as a perfect meet. We had a lot to celebrate, but we also had some disappointing moments as well. We did a great job of supporting each other, encouraging each other, and moving forward through this long five day competition.”
The women’s team was simply dominant. Academy Bullets Swim Club was a distant second with 891 points. Club Wolverine’s Casey Chung (Skyline HS) was named Woman Athlete of the Meet.
Club Wolverine set a meet record with a time of 3:48.74 in the 400 freestyle relay. The women’s team featured Taylor Seaman, Sydney Stricklin, Elizabeth Spears and Johanna Jorgenson.
Club Wolverine offers swim training for athletes ranging from novice to elite swimmers with Olympic aspirations. Based in Ann Arbor, the club uses area pool facilities at Eastern Michigan University (50 meters), the University of Michigan (50 meters), several Ann Arbor area middle and high schools.
The club’s coaching staff is experienced and focused on providing high quality instruction to swimmers at all levels. Club Wolverine is parent-run and organized, funded by family and swimmer fees.
CW’s age-group swimmers do extremely well in both the short and long course Michigan State Championships. They typically place first or second in these competitions, a testament to the clubs outstanding age-group program. For example, the high performance/elite branch of the club in the summer of 2008 sent 43 swimmers to the Olympic Trials, more than any other team in the country and included some swimmers who trained in the club’s age-group program.
And CW was awarded Gold Medal status under USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Program for five straight years (2007-11), as well as Level 4 status (highest ranking) under USA Swimming’s Club Recognition Program. CW has received the recognition and earned the respect of the local, state, national and world swimming communities, and CW swimmers and their families are to be congratulated for demonstrating their commitment and hard work that culminated in CW’s many successes.
And now is the time to become part of this outstanding club. Club Wolverine is hosting open tryouts at historic Canham Natatorium from 2 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 26 and from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. on Sept. 4. No appointment necessary.
For more information, log onto clubwolverine.org.