Doubling in size in less than a month
Although some of the clubs that won pace clocks during our August membership drive contest didn’t even realize the contest was going on, for some this was a prime opportunity to rejuvenate their organizations and spark new growth. Such was the case for White Rock Masters Swimmers in Dallas led by head coach Jeff Veazey.
“We have a clock, but you can never have enough clocks, and it’s nice to have one at both ends,” Veazey says, who was excited about the contest as soon as he learned about it. But beyond that, he says “we really wanted to generate the excitement of USMS/WRMS as the place to swim in the White Rock area. Most importantly, we wanted to get our Masters program out of the doldrums,” and the August membership drive gave Veazey a chance to do that.
He explains that White Rock Masters Swimmers, which became a USMS registered club in 2013, had been a USMS club, but “I wasn’t paying attention, so our membership lapsed.” The intensity of the group, which Veazey had founded in 2011, had waned and it had devolved into a lap swimming group. “No one was competing, no one was interested, they didn’t want the lanes to be crowded,” Veazey says.
But recently, Veazey and his two assistant coaches and decided it was time to hit the reset button. They “stepped back and said, ‘we want to challenge you. You’re not getting as fit as you could if the program was invigorated with the kind of resources we can get from USMS and the resources we as coaches could bring to this.’”
So Veazey began a concentrated effort to get the word out that WRMS was roaring back to life as a USMS club. He’s aided by several age-group swimmer parents with whom he barters free workouts for their help in creating buzz about the program online and in the real world. They took the ball and ran with it, and before Veazey knew what had happened, the group had ballooned from 13 registered USMS members to 40 in just a couple weeks.
This drastic growth is evidence of a growing appetite for exercise and athletics outlets in Dallas. Veazey says the neighborhood around the pool has gotten increasingly younger over the years and triathletes and CrossFit enthusiasts have begun turning up at the pool looking for swim workouts to support and augment their primary sports. “People come swim in the morning and then go swim and run. We are literally across the street from [Norbuck Park and White Rock Lake], so we’ve used that to our advantage. We’re one-stop training,” he says.
And the training swimmers receive at White Rock Masters is technically sound and experienced. Veazey, a Level II USMS-certified coach who refers to himself as a “disenchanted lawyer,” took up coaching nearly half a century ago when he began coaching a summer league at age 18. Over the years, he dabbled in coaching and eventually in 2006, he decided it was time to leave the law behind and get into coaching full time. He’s worked with younger swimmers over the years, but over the past three years has been drawn more and more to Masters coaching and the unique challenges and rewards that come from working with adults.
“I’ve coached USA clubs, high school swimmers, age-group clubs, and Masters teams, and I love it all. Every group you go to, there’s a little bit different thing that you need to bring there. Coaching for me is the thing that keeps me fired up all the time,” Veazey says. “I’m the coach that will cry at the banquet at the end of the season because some kid will have knocked 35 seconds off their 50 backstroke and you go, ‘Wow!’…” he trails off, a lump forming in his throat as he remembers a particularly touching story of a swimmer with Downs Syndrome who made great strides one season. “There’s never a bad day at the pool,” he concludes.
WRMS offers 14 workouts per week on a variable schedule that aims to accommodate the busy lifestyles of all its swimmers as well as the variable workout schedules of the group’s multisport athletes. Veazey says the past two winters have been mild, making for wonderful, year-round outdoor swimming in a beautiful facility. Value is important for Veazey, who says he’s trying to offer lots of pool time and responsive coaching at a reasonable price; he charges $55 per month.
Congratulations to WRMS and Coach Veazey and his assistants and helpers on doing a great job growing their club during our August membership drive. In addition to winning a Colorado Time Systems pace clock worth $1,200, they now have a new-found purpose and lots of new members to help them reach their next goal: 100 members.
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