For the first time, the Somerset Valley YMCA swim team has achieved Silver Medal Club status, establishing its place as one of the top 100 teams in the country, according to USA Swimming, which recognizes clubs with a high level of athletic performance.
"We are very proud to be among the best," said Head Swim coach Matt Donovan, noting that the team achieved Bronze Medal Club status in 2010 and 2013, moving up to Silver Level for the first time in 2014. “Making it into this elite club has required a total team effort, and that includes everyone from our Parent Board volunteers, our amazing coaching staff and of course the swimmers who work so hard every single day."
"To be recognized along with the top clubs in the country, including the North Baltimore Aquatics Club, home to Olympian Michael Phelps, is a huge confidence builder," he added. "It shows us that we are on the right path and not too far away from Rio 2016 Olympics!"
The SVY swim team has over 300 members, who practice at the nonprofit Somerset Valley YMCA’s three pools in Bridgewater, Hillsborough and Somerville. The team competes statewide and nationally.
USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program identifies and rewards swim clubs for their commitment to performance excellence. USA Swimming the national governing body for the , sport of swimming, recognizes clubs that promote the development of strong, well-rounded age group and senior swimmers, and that produce elite 18 & under athletes.
Being designated a top USA Swimming club provides the opportunity for the team to receive grant funding and acknowledges the club development system as key to achieving excellence in swimming.
“We are very proud of our team. We not only build strong athletes at the Y, our program teaches swimmers the value of hard work, patience and perseverance,” said Valerie Giacopelli, Somerset Valley YMCA interim CEO. “We are so pleased that USA Swimming recognizes the caliber of our excellent swim program.”
In 2013, the team had a banner year, finishing as state champion for the fourth consecutive year and taking third place overall at the YMCA National Championship long-course meet in Georgia last summer. Among the team’s National Championship meet accomplishments were capturing six individual and relay titles, and setting three YMCA National Meet records and seven NJ Swimming records.
Submitted by Bev McCarron