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Using Swimming to Lead Marietta's Youth to Lifelong Success

By Elisha Neubauer

In 1993, Coach Lim, an Atlanta, Georgia resident himself, decided to take his neighborhood swim team to the next level. What once started as a summer swim program, called the Holly Springs Waves, blossomed into a full-blown swim league, reaching unparalleled heights under its new format- the Marietta Marlins. Lim led his newly restructured team on to win several titles over the next few years, even claiming the coveted Coach of the Year award in both Senior and Age Group categories for himself in 2006 and 2009.

To date, the Marietta Marlins are comprised of close to two hundred swimmers in ages ranging from six to eighteen years of age, with several college swimmers returning to the Marlins' pool to swim during breaks, for extra practice during their downtimes. "We offer eleven practices per week, six days a week, morning and afternoon Monday through Friday and one morning practice Saturday," explains Larry Baskin of the Marietta Marlins.

"Only the most competitive swimmers practice a full eleven sessions, though; participation is gradual depending on the level of the swimmer." He goes on, explaining that some swimmers only practice two times a week, while others may practice three, five, nine, or the full eleven times a week.

According to Baskin, the dual practices that take place Monday through Friday serve a great purpose to the older swimmers looking to take the sport further, whether in college or beyond. "The purpose behind continuous dual sessions for our senior and junior level groups is to mimic competitive meets where there would be a Preliminary competition in the morning, then a Finals competition in the afternoon/evening," Baskin states.

While the Marlins practice quite a bit in-water, Baskin stresses the importance of training out of the pool, as well. "Our swimmers participate in outside cross-training independently of our program; some do karate, la crosse, cross-country, soccer, tennis, and basketball to name some," he tells us.

"But built into our program is intentional and planned dry land training for strength and flexibility." The Marlins training programs do not use heavy weights of any kind, but rather emphasize moving the weight of the body through water, utilizing simulated strength activities which reinforce the appropriate muscles.

"We're after strength not bulk," Baskin adds. He continues, pointing out that swimming can place a great demand on the cardio-vascular-respiratory system. "It is great for fitness while low on impact on the knees, feet, hips, etc. (as compared to running on hard surfaces)," Baskin tells us. "That is not so say swimmers do not get injured by the repetitive motions of the upper body, especially the shoulders. So we take care to progressively add demand on the body."

One thing we wanted to know, while having Baskin available to answer our questions, was what made swimming such a great activity for kids, regardless of age? "We are always talking to our swimmers about self-discipline, time management, teamwork, and hard work," Baskin states. "Plus, Swimming can set a child on a positive course to lifelong adult fitness. Not to mention, a team our size means that the six-year-olds may be at practice at the same time as the sixteen-year-olds. That makes for strong modeling and friendships across the age groups."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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