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Wasilla Waves train hard, race smart, and swim fast.

April 26, 2017

Wasilla Waves Swim Club, a community operated and funded group, has been around since July of 1985. The non-profit, year-round club started small but has grown to accommodate the hopes and dreams that it is today with 73 amateur swimmers with the motto of ‘train hard, race smart, swim fast.’

This diverse group ranges in the age from 6-17. Each swimmer, dependent on age and skill, is classified into the respected division. The youngest are the Wavelets, then the Ripples, the Surgery, and the Breakers being the more middle group. The final class is the Tsunami’s, composed of more experienced high school swimmers.  

The in-depth pool training is left to the head coach and three assistants while more prestigious matters are left to the Executive Board of Directors. Those positions include President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and an elected fifth member. Other matters fall to the non-executive board members like Fundraising Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, and Athlete Representative. The board is mostly composed of volunteering parents of the aspiring athletes, and there is no particular reward for their time. Meetings are a monthly occurrence where the discussions incorporate finances, planning meets and preparing events.   

    The guidelines of the club are (1) to promote the improvement and process of competitive swimming, (2) assist the coaches in providing facilities, training, and encouragement for increased proficiency in competitive amateur aquatic sports among boys and girls, (3) to further the interest and education of children and parents in competitive aquatic sports, (4) to maintain membership with USA Swimming, (5) to encourage and develop good sportsmanship, individual integrity and team play among club members.

“I believe the club has accomplished all of the above over the years and is still standing by those guidelines,” President of the Board, Casey Laughlin said in a recent interview.

Coaches, parents and swimmers alike strive to create an environment to be their very best and influence a nurturing undercurrent.  

“There is a lot of focus on creating a safe and fun atmosphere for our swimmers while keeping in check the integrity of teaching proper technique, respecting others, creating and working toward personal accomplishments, and building the foundation for lifelong healthy habits.” Mrs. Laughlin remarked.

Fun and games aren’t all there is to be a member of the club. Each group practices after school from 3:00-6:15 p.m. The specific numbers of hours is dependent upon the swimmer’s level and group. During practice, coaches oversee techniques and challenge the swimmers by various sets of distance and speed drills, with the goals of testing endurance limits and expanding on stroke efficiency. A lot of time and effort is put into creatively making each set challenging by designing the exercises to improve various skills.

Present-day coach Hadley Remele is both the main coach of Waves, the Wasilla High School swim team, and a Special Education teacher at Wasilla High. Coach Hadley plans the rigorous sets and organizes who swims what event at meets. While swimmers do have significant control over which events they enter and preferred strokes they swim, the coaches have final say in the matters.  

While swimming may appear to be an individual sport, meets are won by team points.  Most swimmers excel in and favor one particular stroke and work mostly at improving time and technique for individual races. This dedication and strong work have produced several state level competitors in a very physically challenging,  technical, and rewarding athletic sport.

Joining the Waves Swim Club is a rather simple process. Information can be found at www.wasillawavesak.org. Those interested must pass a basic skills test that includes a 25-meter freestyle, backstroke, and a legal breaststroke. The butterfly stroke is an option but not required.

“Don’t be afraid to try out. If you’re not sure about trying out, try it. We’ll be honest about it. I’m not mean about it.” Coach Hadley stated with an ominous grin.

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