USMS Award Recipient

U.S. Masters Swimming Club of the Year Award

Recipient: Tamalpais Aquatic Masters
Year: 2023
LMSC: Pacific

Established in the early 1970s, Tamalpais Aquatic Masters was one of USMS’s first clubs. Led by Coach Marie McSweeney from its inception, the club trained in an antiquated 4-lane pool (eventually converted to five lanes). For many years, TAM was a small yet accomplished team with dedicated members. The club met the needs of its swimmers with great workouts and exemplary coaching. It supported USMS and Pacific LMSC in many ways, which included conducting Swimming Saves Lives Programs, hosting four One-Hour Postal National Championships, and hosting the annual Jon Steiner Mile in honor of a member who died of lung cancer. TAM donated over $20,000 to cancer research through this event. TAM’s members had a rich legacy of participation with members serving as USMS delegates, committee chairs, and national officers. But its limited facilities constrained opportunities for growth and expanded programs.

2021/2022 saw their host institution, Marin Academy, build a spectacular new aquatic center. TAM launched a fundraising drive for the pool’s construction that raised $225,000. The club moved into the new 13-lane pool in July of 2022, and one could say the change awakened a sleeping giant! In the old pool, they helped with maintenance in exchange for pool time. Facing pool rental fees for the first time in the club’s history, TAM pivoted into growth mode and in the space of 3 months, increased its membership from 65 to 106. They became a “A Brand-New Team With a 50-Year History”. With growth came an infusion of engagement and participation. TAM revitalized their Board and secured 501(c)(3) tax status as a non-profit organization. To welcome and support new members they created a new website, a monthly newsletter, and regular email communications. Motivated in part by the USMS prize money, TAM had 85% participation in the virtual Hour Swim. TAM achieved financial stability and enjoyed improved fitness and competitive successes.

Coach Marie fostered a tight knit and inclusive team and provided challenging and varied workouts for all members. With the new pool, the club held 20 practices a week, which were strategically planned and geared towards each competitive season. TAM swimmers were regulars at local meets, Spring and Summer Nationals, and open water events. Several TAM swimmers had trained for and swum the English Channel. Many of TAM’s swimmers had been members from the club’s beginning. And no club had more inductees into the Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame. In aggregate, TAM members had set over 600 individual and relay World Aquatics records.