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Monday, May 18, 2015

Tim Anderson, Helping Create Excitement In Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Coach Tim Anderson is the Open Water Director of SwimMAC Carolina, one of the most famous swimming teams in America.

If you combine a passionately creative coach knowledgeable about open water swimming with a competitive pool swimming hotbed with many pool facilities and open water venues in the area, and many very positive results are bound to happen.

We asked Coach Anderson about the sport and his role in helping develop open water swimmers of all ages in North Carolina.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What does your role as the Open Water Director for SwimMAC entail?

Coach Anderson: My role here at SwimMAC as Open Water Director includes coordinating open water clinics for SwimMAC athletes from the Senior level and non-Team Elite through age group as well as building awareness of what open water swimming and racing to our SwimMAC swimmers is about in the swimming community.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How long have you have been coaching open water?

Coach Anderson: I began teaching and coaching adult triathletes while I was living in Newport, Rhode Island about 5 years ago before coming to SwimMAC in 2012.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What were some of the most satisfying swims that you have coached or witnessed over your open water coaching career?

Coach Anderson: One of my favorite open water swims and events I have coached at is the annual North Carolina Swimming Open Water Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina. I feel for an age group open water meet, its a very well organized event and last season SwimMAC brought about 40 swimmers representing all age group demographics from 10 years old through adult masters swimmers to the event. Not only did we swim well, but it was also a very fun, family friendly event with swimmer's parents and siblings and some grandparents in attendance cheering on.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Does SwimMAC conduct any open water swimming workouts?

Coach Anderson: Yes we do. We do a large annual clinic and practice at the U.S. National White Water Center here in Charlotte every Memorial Day weekend. We also take advantage of Lake Norman when we can and take individual age group training groups for swims out on the lake in place of their pool practice for some good old fashioned aerobic conditioning. We also put together mini clinics at one of our outdoor 8-lane 50m pools at Moss Creek in Concord, North Carolina for our 12 and under age group level swimmers to introduce them to and get them excited about non-lane line swimming. With this mini clinic we simulate a mini open water race as well as teaching open water skills and drills in the shallow end.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do your athletes like about open water? Both masters at the New England Masters and age-groupers at SwimMAC?

Coach Anderson: Here at SwimMAC one of the biggest things the kids talk about is their love for competing. We instill here to our club swimmers a desire to compete and race so I think that when our athletes, especially in the 13 and over age group, sign up for open water meets, they show up to race. Male athletes at the younger age groups love to race and compete in general, but I have also encountered the high school age female athletes dominating open water races. I feel at that age and stage in their swimming it is an individual pursuit and open water racing allows them to embrace that a little more than just pool meets.

I feel with the adult masters swimmers whom I've coached, swam with and kayaked for on long distance treks, their love for open water stems from the camaraderie as well as the feeling of accomplishment of the experience afterward. The health benefits are there, naturally, but I have yet to experience a negative group of swimmers after an open water swim, even after being out in rainy, cold conditions in the Atlantic Ocean.


Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Does SwimMAC take its athletes to USA Swimming Open Water Championships?

Coach Anderson: We have attended in the past and every year we look at the opportunity to attend this meet and we make a decision based on our athletes, logistics, and the rest of our meet schedule.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do you see in the future of open water swimming at or within USA Swimming or your local swim committee?

There are so many great open water events cropping up all over the country locally as well a national level and every year it seems to get a little more organized and mainstream. The goal is to create different opportunities and experiences for the kids to keep them excited about the sport of swimming in all facets.



At a club level, especially at the age group level, it is creating the spark in the kid who loves the 500 free during short course season and maintaining that spark to build a desire in that athlete to want to sign up for his or her first 2 km or 3 km swim and then have them go back to their friends at practice and sell open water to them.

Here at SwimMAC, we have a lot of athletes who are big into triathlons, some on a national level currently for their age group, and with the rise and popularity of triathlon and endurance sports, open water training and competition is finding its place there as well. I am also beginning to see more National level athletes, who are known in the pool, enter into the open water arena and show success there.

In my humbled opinion based on what I have observed, open water is still uncharted territory here in the U.S. and has so much room to grow and evolve on an international competitive level that what I see in the future of open water swimming is as more athletes are exposed at the age group level, the stronger we get on an Olympic level in this arena.

Personally, I cannot speak entirely on behalf of North Carolina Swimming LSC, but the people in charge of the Open Water Select Camp who I have been in contact with are some of the best in the country and attract Olympians and National Team members regularly to help assist with the camps which is a compliment to their dedication to growing the exposure of open water swimming. I learn a lot from them on what can make me better at exposing kids to the open water arena. The North Carolina Swimming LSC does an amazing job of generating excitement for open water competition at the age group level.


Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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