Stars In The Making: The Murray Aquatic Club
Aug 03, 2016 09:04AM
● By Sarah Almond
Several members of the Murray Aquatic Club, MAC, smile for a group photo during a short-course meet earlier this year. The team competes in both long-course and short-course meets throughout the entire year. Photo courtesy of Murray Aquatic Club.
By Sarah Almond
Murray, Utah - The Murray Aquatic Club (MAC) is like a family; a big, happy, 100-member family. And for the members of the MAC family, summer isn’t about sleeping in and vacationing - it’s about staying conditioned and training for the State Championship meet in May 2017.
“The summer is less team-oriented,” Maurer said. “When the kids are 14-, 15-, 16-years-old, it’s all about the high school swimming season. The summer for our kids is really more of year round training and for the kids that want to be good in State.”
Though the team’s roster is hovering around 100 swimmers, this number typically drops to around 80 swimmers during the winter season which begins in September.
Maurer thinks that the pending Olympic games have contributed to the team’s attendance rate this summer.
“There is always an Olympic bump,” Maurer said. “We definitely get more interest.”
MAC recently participated as an entry in Murray City’s annual Fourth of July parade.
“People were talking about famous swimmers like Michael Phelps, and Ryan Lochte, and Katie Ledecky,” Maurer said. “You could hear the buzz and it was like, ‘Yeah, that is who we are. You know? We are Team USA.’”
MAC is a sanctioned team of USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States.
“You know, those Olympic swimmers are representatives of who MAC is as a team,” Maurer said.
Maurer, who has been coaching alongside Dale Ralph for 15 months, moved to Utah from Southern California more than 35 years ago. And though he’s been coaching swimming full time since 1982, Maurer came to Salt Lake to pursue a career in motivation.
As a coach, Maurer finds that his experience in motivational work and time management translates well on the pool deck.
“I kind of bring it back around on the kids,” Maurer said. “I treat everyone like an adult. I ask them what it is that they want to accomplish. If I treat them like adults, I get what I want out of them - and that’s hard work and dedication. I really like that strategy and philosophy. It works really well for me.”
At the beginning of every season, Maurer talks with the swimmers about setting individual goals.
“What’s important to me is that it’s a process,” Maurer said. “It’s about improving your times. It’s not about winning. Some kids come here saying ‘I want to win’ and you know, winning is great. But unless you’re in the final heat of an Olympic event, or the Olympic trials, everything else is about time and improving yourself. And that’s how I look at it with the swimmers: what can we do today to get better.”
MAC is comprised of three different skill levels: Bronze are beginners, Silver are intermediate swimmers, and Gold are advanced swimmers that represent the team at the State Competition. Swimmers in the Silver and Gold Groups put in nearly 15 hours of training each week during the summer months and often more during the winter, giving them ample time to improve on a day-by-day basis.
“We’ve got a couple really good distance swimmers that are young ladies,” Maurer said. “But most of our kids swim sprint and middle distance. I think we’re going to be able to send three of our Gold kids to Zones.”
Hosted by USA Swimming, the Zone Championship features top regional swimmers at both the Senior and Age Group levels who qualify for meets within four designated Zones: Eastern, Central, Southern, and Western. This year, Western Zones is being held in Fresno, CA on August 2.
For Maurer, one of the most gratifying parts of being a coach is watching his swimmers’ dedication and hard work pay off. This summer, however, one event in particular has made it’s mark as not just a highlight for the season, but on Maurer’s entire coaching career.
“On one of our distance days, we had a 1650 for time,” Maurer said. In non-swimming terms, 1650-yards is equivalent to a mile. “One of the guys on our State Team, Lincoln Yosep, chose to do the whole thing butterfly. I didn’t think anyone could do it, and not only did he choose to do it, but he finished. I have never in my life heard of someone doing that. He can swim butterfly better than most people can swim freestyle. It was truly noteworthy.”
MAC concluded their long-course summer season on July 15 at the Utah Long Course Regional Championships. Children ages five through 18 who are interested in joining the team are encouraged to register at the Murray Park Center.