USMS Award Recipient

U.S. Masters Swimming Club of the Year Award

Recipient: Woodlands Masters Swim Team
Year: 2008
LMSC: Gulf

The Woodlands Masters Swim Team (WMST) grew from 17 to 247 swimmers in 9 years. They attributed this major growth to their coaches. Their team did not have a head coach, but their 23 weekly practices were coached by 10 individuals: Cindy Andrews, Carolyn Boak, Tom Boak, Steve Breeding, Becky Buckner, Ross Davis, Laura Koch, Mike Nordmann, Gale Strickland, and Greg Tharp.The coaches successfully communicated with each other, coordinated consistent goals for each workout, and made swimmers feel welcomed.

WMST hosted annual clinics with well-known USMS coaches including Michael Collins, Scott Rabalais, Ed Nessel, Jim Montgomery, Kerry O’Brien, Dr. Eric LeBouef, Nancy Schuber, Shane Gould, and Dick Bower. Topics included Mentor Coach, Injury Prevention, Beginner Swimming, and Strokes focus. In addition, 2 workouts a week were geared to stroke instruction for beginner swimmers. The club sent WMST coaches to the ASCA World Clinics.

WMST members were active volunteers for their LMSC, Zone, and National USMS Committees: Ross Davis, Jill Gellatly, Laura Koch, Nancy Crecelius, Scott Campbell, and Tom and Carolyn Boak served in many capacities. Carolyn contributed Swimmer magazine articles

WMST hosted 2-3 local meets per year, and USMS National meets in 1982, 1987, 1990 and most recently in 2007. Their annual Relay Meet introduced new swimmers to competition in a less stressful, fun event. When hosting the 2007 Nationals, WMST set a goal to raise funds for their local age-group swim team, The Woodlands Swim Team (TWST). $32K was donated to them. Over the years, WMST hosted the Annual 100 Mile Swim and made donations to TWST, the local Park and Rec, and the community Women’s Center. WMST also instituted a program for full time college students at a significantly reduced rate to make Masters swimming affordable.

In 2006, The Woodlands developer announced that their swimming facility, The Woodlands Athletic Center, would close in December of 2008.  TWST and WMST, led by Tom Boak, worked for a solution for their future. Tom served on the Facility Committee with the School District to design a Natatorium with a Lane Use Agreement that includes WMST. Tom served as the Chair of The Woodlands Aquatics Community, Inc., which coordinated all the aquatic organizations in the area.

WMST was very proud of their Social Committee, which hosted socials for their swim meets, clinics, Nationals, and 3 USMS Board of Directors and Executive Committee Meetings in recent years. Club members enjoyed getting together for annual Christmas parties, informal coffees, birthdays, and baby and wedding showers.