In the fall of 2007 Strongsville City Schools hired Thomas Stacy as the new head coach of the Strongsville High School swimming and diving teams. Tom has been around swimming all of his life. He is respected and well liked by all who know him, Over 90 fellow coaches in the Northeast Ohio District singled him out as the the 2008 Coach of the Year - quite a feat for his first season as a high school coach.
In the spring of 2008, Doug Kawiecki and Tom Dickey had the vision of a new era of swimming in Strongsville. Doug established a partnership with the city of Strongsville and the Strongsville Schools to create a club team the would serve as a feeder system for high school swimming. Tom enlisted Connie Kawiecki, Kathy Shepherd and Kim Windnagel to join him as the founding board members of SwimStrong. They hired Tom Stacy as head coach, believing that there is a distinct advantage to having a club team that is coached by the same person that coaches our high school team. Coach Stacy then began working to develop our partnership with the Strongsville Swim League and their 900+ young swimmers.
Tom Stacy has 12+ years experience as a USA coach. He was Head Age Group Coach of Lakewood Rec Swim Team (LRST) from 2003 until 2007, consistently producing 12 & Under Zone "AAA" qualifiers. He was a 2008 Lake Erie Zone Coach, is an instructor at Fast Lane Swim Camp, serves on multiple committees within Lake Erie Swimming and was meet director for three USA swim meets in the 07-08 season. In the second season as head coach of the Mustangs, Tom led both the girls and boys teams to Sectional titles. Numerous school records fell as 7 girls and 6 boys qualified for states. This young man has a plan to develop swimming in the southwestern suburbs. We are proud to say that he is also the Head Coach of SwimStrong.
In September, 2008, Kelly (Zimmer) Baumgartner joined the SwimStrong coaching staff as our first assistant coach. She began her coaching career as an Assistant Coach with Berea Midpark Swim Club (BMSC) in 2003. Kelly worked with the 9 - 12 year old group until 2006 when she was named the Head Swim Coach of BMSC. Also, Kelly was the Head Coach of Boys and Girls Swimming at Midpark High School from 2003-07. She had a stellar personal swimming career. She was team captain and 4 times Most Valuable Swimmer at Berea High School. In college she was a five time All-American and was on a NCAA Championship team. In early 2009 Kelly was a Lake Erie Quads Coach. Kelly's coaching career is currently on hold while she focuses on her career as a mommy. She played an important role in establishing out team and the SwimStrong family looks forward to her return.
On April 14, 2008, SwimStrong held its first practice at Busbey Natatorium on the campus of CSU. We had 22 swimmers in that group. On June 9, 2008, we began our first summer 'long course' season with 54 swimmers. The Freedlander meet in Wooster in July, 2008 was our first 'team effort' meet. Our boys came in second and the team finished third overall! On September 2, 2008 we started our first 'short course' season with an amazing 153 swimmers. So began a new era in swimming.
Club Development Award - 2009
Lake Erie Swimming governs 34 USA Swimming teams from 19 counties in Ohio. In May 2009, they recognized SwimStrong with the Club Development Award. This recognition is given to a developing and growing club that is contributing to Lake Erie Swimming. Criteria for contributions include participation at meets, growth in club member registrations, hosting meets, assuming leadership roles in Lake Erie Swimming and participating in Lake Erie events like Swimposium and House of Delegates.
Level 1 Club Award - 2010
In September, 2010 SwimStrong achieved USA Swimming Level 1 Club Recognition. This Club Recognition Program offers all USA Swimming Clubs a working blueprint for developing a strong, stable, financially sound and athletically productive organization. Achieving Level 1 means SwimStrong has met the required criteria in Business and Organizational Success, Parent and Volunteer Development, Coach Development and Education, and Athlete Development and Performance.
Bronze Medal Club Status - 2011/2015/2016
USA Swimming has awarded SWIM-LE with Bronze Medal Club status on three separate occasions. Out of the 2,800 USA swim clubs in the country, only 100 are awarded Bronze Medal Club status each year. This achievement means that SWIM-LE has achieved Level 1 club recognition and has at least one 18-under athlete who achieved a long course time standard for an individual event for the Long Course Junior Nationals.
Club Expansion - 2011
SwimStrong (SWIM) is one of the newest and fastest growing clubs in USA Swimming. Berea Midpark Swim Club (BMSC) is the oldest and one of the most beloved clubs in Lake Erie Swimming. BMSC evokes many wonderful memories in the countless parents and swimmers that have been a part of the club over the years. In the spring of 2011, SWIM and BMSC announced their merger as SWIM. SWIM continues to operate out of the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center for families in Strongsville and took over the operations at both Berea and Midpark High Schools, serving the families in Berea, Middleburg Heights and Brook Park. SWIM also announced that Mike Gallagher, former Head Swimming Coach at Notre Dame College and director of Fast Lane Swim Camps, has been named Head Site Coach at the Berea and Midpark locations. We believe this merger will continue to strengthen swimming programs in the southwest suburbs for the benefit of all involved.
Level 2 Club Recognition - 2011
In May, 2011 SwimStrong achieved USA Swimming Level 2 Club Recognition. This Club Recognition Program offers all USA Swimming Clubs a working blueprint for developing a strong, stable, financially sound and athletically productive organization. Achieving Level 2 means SwimStrong raised the bar in areas of Business and Organizational Success, Parent and Volunteer Development, Coach Development and Education, and Athlete Development and Performance. There are only three teams in Lake Erie Swimming at Level 2 or higher and SwimStrong is the only Level 2 team on the west side.
Club Community Service Award - 2011
Also in May, 2011, at the annual Lake Erie Swimming Awards Program, SwimStrong was awarded the inaugural Club Community Service Award for our annual Splash Out Cancer efforts in raising $8,725.28 during the 2011 season. Our three year total is now $23,314.41. These proceeds have been donated to both the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals. Thanks to everyone on the team for their outstanding efforts to make a difference both in the water and out the water as well!