Here are a few comments from members of our club. If any current or former members wish to add comments, please email them to the webmaster.
This is our first year with the Marlins. We could not be happier. My daughter enjoys going to swim and never complains (which is rare for an 11 year old). I credit this to Coach Steve. While he is firm with his coaching he has a way with the kids, they respect him, listen to him and follow thru with his advice. My daughter is challenged every practice in the right way. Coach Steve takes the time with each swimmer, he focuses on what they need and helps them achieve it, whether if its fixing technique or to making sure they eat the right food. There are so many swim teams out there, we made the right decision with the Potomac Marlins and Coach Steve. Looking forward to many more years!
As a first year swimming parent, I could not have asked for a better team to join! The Mighty Marlins Coaches have taken my shy 6 year old and turned her into a confidant swimmer. Having never swum anything other than freestyle and backstroke, she amazed us all by finishing a 100 IM in her last meet. She not only is learning swimming mechanics, but sportsmanship and the meaning of team camaraderie! Thank you Potomac Marlins for an awesome first season!
As a military family, our child has been on eight different swim teams. Moving to the DC area, we researched and tried out several clubs. Hands down, the Marlins had the best coaches and most welcoming team, making our decision easy. We also appreciate the active duty military discount.
This is our daughter’s (7) first year with the Mighty Marlins. She has had an extremely positive experience. The coaches treat the swimmers with respect that is easily returned. They all know it is fun but also serious. Our daughter feels part of a team and looks forward to practice. She is not the fastest on the team but she has grown to understand that practicing makes her better and faster and that knowledge keeps her positive and enjoying the sport.
Our overall experience is outstanding. Coaches are great, team environment is healthy and competitive. But for us the biggest thing is to see our ten year old swimmer's attitude change towards the game, he now thinks swimming at par to football or basketball. His view changed 180 degrees from the time when he started. Good thing that brought to us is, now we don't have to yell at him for going to practice anymore. A small step, but in the right direction. We hope, he carries on and get to the finish line with Marlins.
Santosh, Shriyan's Dad.
"The coaches give advise and always on your side. The practices are good and help you to improve. Coaches are encouraging and never harsh to you. Practices are very organized."
With four kids in multiple sports and activities, we truly appreciate the organization, communication, and professionalism of the Potomac Marlins. The coaches provide excellent training and motivation, which have resulted in our swimmers' steady improvement over the past three seasons. Our kids have made wonderful "swim friends," and the Marlins foster team spirit through a balance of individual goal setting and team incentives. It is so inspiring to see the older swimmers mentor the younger ones, and all of the swimmers cheer one another on at the meets.
Cassie & Byron Pickard
The philosophy of the Marlins coaches is "If you work hard, you can improve, no matter what level swimmer you are." Neither of my children are super-star swimmers but at the end of a meet when they drop time, they understand the life lesson that I as their mother most want them to learn: results come from hard work. I am confident that this teaching by the Marlins coaches will benefit my children well beyond their years on the team.
As a relative new member to the Marlins Family - a little more than 1 year - Our son, Ian , loves the friendly atmosphere that the teammates have developed with each other. He enjoys the camaraderie, goal setting and friendly competition that has helped him develop into not only a strong swimmer but also a stronger teammate. One specific comment that Ian said comes to mind about the program - "the practices can be hard but I really like how Coach Barry pushes me." It's great to hear your son excited about practice and working toward a specific goal. As a family - we love the feedback that we have received on how our son is doing. We reached out one day and casually asked how things were going and Coach Barry gave us two pages of feedback and areas he was working on with our son and how we could help reinforce certain techniques and behaviors. We loved it.
Michael and Patty Carr
In September, my then almost 8 year old daughter started AGSD with Will and Allie at Cub Run. She loved summer swim, but she'd never done a flip turn, dove off the blocks, or raced a 50. Her IM was legal, but she needed a lot of work on her breaststroke. Half a year later, the only thing that's consistent is her love of swimming. It's crazy to think back to the fall and to compare it to where she is today.
We moved to the area last year and my daughter joined Rick's group. Previously, she didn't have the strongest swimming foundation, but within those first few months with the Marlins Rick helped her develop into the strong, competitive swimmer she is becoming today. She has formed an amazing bond of trust and respect with her coach and developed a passion for the sport. Rick goes above and beyond to communicate with us individually about our daughter's swimming abilities and her social/emotional needs. We are beyond thrilled with our decision to join the Marlins team!
The Mighty Marlins have been an excellent experience for my boys, age 9 & 7. They are not the kids that win their heats, and some meets I'm just happy when they do not DQ! The coaches are invested in making sure they are learning, improving, and still having fun. It's helped them understand the importance of a team, and to see the results of their hard work and dedication after they fail.
I love the individual attention the coaches give to my daughters. They watch them swim and make every effort at practices and meets to discuss their swimming with them. The entire staff works together to support all of the swimmers. This really makes a difference is the development of a swimmer.
Our family is associated with Marlins for two years now and we could not be happier than what we were with the Coaches (Coach Rick - in particular). My kids would love to rush for the classes and come back home with their smiles still intact. This was all that we were looking from a swim-team - nothing more, nothing less. But what was offered by Coach Rick came as a huge surprise and we respect him immensely for this. During one of the family emergency where I lost one of my parent and both me and my wife had to fly out of country, I dropped an email to Coach Rick mentioning just as an "emergency". He wrote back to me in no-time and offered to even arrange for any ride that my kids might need during my absence, also making sure the kids are still feeling comfortable during the evening they spend with him. He was in constant touch with me through emails. This human-touch makes me proud and happy that I trusted my kids and their future in right hands.
This is our 3rd year my daughter, Charlotte, has swam with the Marlins. She started in the Mighty Marlins and now swims with Coach Rick. She has improved tremendously. Plus, she really loves all the coaches she has had - in particular Rick, Ally and Will last year. She always gets a big confidence boost after practice and meets. We love that the Marlins have done that for her. She loves her Marlin family!
At our house Marlins is family. Through the years coaches and staff have always been there for our daughters both at individual and team level offering advice and encouragement to reach their full potential.
Our daughter has been with the Marlins for 6 years. It continues to be the perfect combination of fun and competitiveness that keeps her interest. The coaching has been phenomenal, and this year Coach Steve has fueled our daughter’s desire to become a top tier athlete. We appreciate that he lets her focus on the events and strokes that are best suited to her and challenges her to constantly improve. She looks forward to future years with the Marlins.
Jeff & Katie Schuman
This is my 10th year with the Marlins. My older daughter was 9 when we were referred by Anna Johannes (sp), who were in our summer league at the time and now a paraolympian. We joined not because the girls are great swimmers but rather to keep them active. We went through a lot of great coaches like coach Czy, John Leber who continuously corrected their strokes...and even now coach Bill followed the tradition. My older girl, now swims and plays water polo for a college in Pennsylvania. My tiny 15th y.o. just now swims with coach Bill in the morning because she wants to get better! Like I said she is not the best swimmer but if you are willing the coach will work with you to take you to the next level. That's the dedications that you can expect from Marlin's coaches.
This is our 5th year with the Potomac Marlins and we are here to stay. My son, Josh Michel, started at the very beginning level (Stroke School) at age 5 and has worked his way up to Age Group Aerobic Development (AGAD), where he swims with Coach Rick Stakel. Coach Rick is an outstanding example of the excellent coaching Josh has received at every level. Coach Rick has taken the time to get to know Josh both as a swimmer and as an individual. He applauds his strengths and challenges Josh to work on his weaknesses. He pushes the AGAD swimmers to the limit, yet does so in a way that is accessible and motivating. He is incredibly positive and encouraging. Every swimmer has ups and downs and when Josh was really struggling with his butterfly this winter, Coach Rick sat down and talked with him at length about all of the hard work he was doing and how it would pay off. He then sat down with me and we talked for close to an hour about his philosophy as a coach and all of the positive things he saw in Josh. I was amazed by how well he understands my son and could tell how much he cares about him as a person. Coach Rick was right about hard work paying off – in the most recent meet, Josh took 16 seconds off of his 50 fly! Most importantly, Josh absolutely loves to swim! No matter how hard they work, Josh is always having fun and is excited about being in the pool. I believe he is cultivating a lifelong passion for swimming though his experiences with the Potomac Marlins.
My son Brian is just finishing his 1st year as a Marlin with Coach Barry (AGSD- Chinq). I'm really amazed at how much he has enjoyed being part of this team. As a 7 year old I was a little apprehensive as to whether he would truly have the stamina to continue all year. He loved swimming on our neighborhood team and expressed interest in continuing. Brian has done so well, I feel that swimming is obviously a terrific mode of exercise, but more so such a great stress reliever. He swims twice a week and it has never been a fight, not even once. This team has allowed him to gain confidence in himself, while feeling so accomplished in becoming a better swimmer in each stroke. He's had a great school year and I think swimming has helped in that. He was thrilled when all of his "Marlin gear" arrived, I think it was the highlight of his fall. Teachers at school may think he has no other clothes! We really are so impressed with the level of instruction that Barry has offered, in swimming and diving (still a work in progress!). Brian swam in 4 Mini meets, feeling stronger and more knowledgeable of the process with each meet. It's been a great experience.
If you're looking for a team for a good swimmer whose goal is to swim in the NCAA, the small club atmosphere is great. You'll know the coaches, teammates and parents like family. The emphasis on giving back is terrific. Great life lessons.
Last year our son made his high school swim team after being out of the pool for quite some time. By the end of the season, he knew that in order to keep up that pace and reach his goals, he needed a Club team. We interviewed a few teams and are so glad we found the Marlins! From the coaching staff to the sign-up process, there are no surprises. It's fun, it's family oriented and we have no regrets!
My son has found a great home at the Marlins, this is his 4th year with the team and he could not be any happier with Coach Barry and the friends he has made through swimming. I believe the Marlins understand there is not one set "swim formula" for all kids, and really try to work with each swimmer and their family on what the best approach is to achieve their own particular goals. Barry gives honest and constructive feedback to his swimmers which is always appreciated as a parent. Even when we are swimming with our NVSL summer team and my son does well, one of the first things he does is send a note to Coach Barry letting him know. Over the past 4 years with the Marlins, my son has grown to truly love swimming, can't wait until the next meet, and is actually disappointed when there is not practice. Something is working!
This is our third year of our daughters (Katie and Norah) swimming with the Marlins. Both Katie and Norah have benefited tremendously from the Marlins program. More than the coaching and improvements we have seen in their swimming ability we appreciate the fun and inclusive nature of the Marlins team. It is a family environment in which all the kids are given a chance to grow, be accepted and truly enjoy the great sport of swimming.
Bob Ludke and Sabrina Corlette
We have been with the Cub Run Marlin location since 2008 with 3 children that are swimmers. Two currently are swimming with Coach Steve and Coach Kevin, prior to these coaches each of my children swam with Coach Rick. My 17 year old now coaches swimming, swims for her HS and will be playing soccer in college, she attributes much of her work ethic to her time swimming for Coach Steve. The programs at the Cub Run location are very well managed.
Kerry Diederich - Children Aged 17, 14 and 12
I am 12 years old and I like to swim. I've been swimming once a week in different swim programs for several years. Honestly, I wasn’t getting much faster. I needed a team that would not only make me physically stronger but mentally stronger too. Then, 6 months ago, my parents found the Potomac Marlins. To sum it all up, this is the best swim season I’ve had in my life. My coaches are the kindest, toughest, most inspirational coaches anyone could have asked for. My coach, Rick Stakel, has changed my attitude towards swimming. When I first joined the team, I came tremendously close to walking out, my excuse being, “I just can’t. It’s too hard.” One of his favorite mottoes, though, is No pain, no game. He taught me that you must push yourself past what you think are your limits and feel the pain if you want to get better. I thought that my short height of 58 inches would make my failure inevitable, but I soon learned that there was a little spark in there I just needed to ignite. At my first swim meet, after three weeks of exhausting yet enjoyable practices, I dropped nearly 5 seconds on my 50 freestyle. To this day, his motivation and tips have helped me to go faster and faster at every meet. Unlike some other swim programs I’ve been in, my swim practices are fun. They are hard, some practices going up to 3,800 meters, but my coach, friends and I spice it up a bit. Making friends on the team was a breeze. Everyone on the team is cheerful, motivated, and funny. We make each other laugh after the hardest of swims. That is why this will forever be my favorite swim team
The Potomac Marlins have been part of our family for nearly 10 years. Our son started with Coach Rick, moved on to Coach Steve, and finally landed in his senior group with Coach Kevin. All the coaches are great. Our son spent many years with Coach Kevin. Coach Kevin emphasized train ng with purpose and to never lose sight of the big picture. For our son, it was a perfect strategy as he stayed on task through the highs and lows and now has the opportunity to swim at the next level. A big thank you to Kevin!! As he prepares to graduate, we look back over the many years with the Marlins and realize what a positive influence swimming and the Marlins have had on his life. We wish the Marlins continued success and we will miss the team.
As a military family, moving last year was very challenging for our Daughter (7), but finding the Potomac Marlins was a blessing! The Chinquapin Mighty Marlins Coaches are outstanding! Madison loves going to practice and the meets which is a true testament to their coaching philosophy and making it fun for the young swimmers. Thank you for the great season and she is looking forward to moving up and continuing with the Marlins!
CDR Eva Van Camp
Our children have been swimming with the Potomac Marlins for 11 years. The experience, dedication and commitment of the Marlin Coaches has developed our children from Mini Marlins, Age Group, Eastern Zones, Sectionals, Junior Nationals, Nationals all the way through the Olympic Trials in Omaha. The Potomac Marlins have an exceptional training process that reaps the best results. As a parent, the Potomac Marlins offer a team atmosphere where the coaches, swimmers and parents all feel part of a large cohesive swim family. They make early mornings and long swim trips fun and rewarding. Our family gives the Potomac Marlins the highest recommendation and would not swim for any other local swim club.
Barb and All Jansen
Over the years, our kids have been at multiple levels in multiple training groups within the Potomac Marlins Swim Club. In fact, our 18 year old has been with the Marlins since age 9. Although I could speak to the training, the coaching, the discipline and what our kids have learned about perseverance, what I am most thankful for is what the Marlins have been to my children … a second family.
I am very impressed with Potomac Marlins coaches, particularly Coach Bill. When Haley first came to Potomac Marlins she was on the verge of quitting swimming after 5 years of competitive swimming. She loved swimming, but had lost her motivation and confidence. Coach Bill understood that she was a multi-sport athlete and worked to welcome her to the team and not apply to much pressure on her to only focus on swimming. After two years of being on the team, Haley has a completely different attitude about swimming. She has regained her confidence and motivation and has started to compete in meets again. Additionally, her stroke technique and ability to swim longer distances have significantly improved. Bill’s training philosophy has also been very instrumental in Haley dropping significant time in her key events If it were not for Coach Bill, Haley likely would not be swimming competitively. Potomac Marlins is a team that dedicates its resources to helping each swimmer improve while ensuring the sport remains enjoyable for the swimmers. I highly recommend this team to the multi-sport athlete that wants to remain competitive in swimming. Coach Bill truly cares about all of his swimmers and strives to help all swimmers improve their technique and performance.
I am 12 years old and I like to swim. I've been swimming once a week in different swim programs for several years. Honestly, I wasn’t getting much faster. I needed a team that would not only make me physically stronger but mentally stronger too. Then, 6 months ago, my parents found the Potomac Marlins. To sum it all up, this is the best swim season I’ve had in my life. My coaches are the kindest, toughest, most inspirational coaches anyone could have asked for. My coach, Rick Stakel, has changed my attitude towards swimming. When I first joined the team, I came tremendously close to walking out, my excuse being, “I just can’t. It’s too hard.” One of his favorite mottoes, though, is No pain, no game. He taught me that you must push yourself past what you think are your limits and feel the pain if you want to get better. I thought that my short height of 58 inches would make my failure inevitable, but I soon learned that there was a little spark in there I just needed to ignite. At my first swim meet, after three weeks of exhausting yet enjoyable practices, I dropped nearly 5 seconds on my 50 freestyle. To this day, his motivation and tips have helped me to go faster and faster at every meet. Unlike some other swim programs I’ve been in, my swim practices are fun. They are hard, some practices going up to 3,800 meters, but my coach, friends and I spice it up a bit. Making friends on the team was a breeze. Everyone on the team is cheerful, motivated, and funny. We make each other laugh after the hardest of swims. That is why this will forever be my favorite swim team.
Swimmer - Audrey Eng
“Our daughter has learned the importance of dedication and hard work in a challenging activity while maintaining the most important lesson, which is to have fun. The Potomac Marlins are certainly doing something right as we have never seen our daughter more engaged and enthusiastic about a sport!”
My two sons (8 and 10) are lucky to have Coach Steve as their summer swim coach and we drive a bit further to swim for the Potomac Marlins so that one day Coach Steve will be their club swim coach too. In the meantime and for the past 3 years, our experiences with the Potomac Marlins have been great with Coach Will, Coach Allie and Coach Rick, including some good natured teasing by Coach Steve in passing. There is a healthy atmosphere of competition that pushes our sons to go for personal bests. Coach Will and Coach Allie instill good stroke, start and turn fundamentals. Coach Rick takes swimming to the next level and his love of the sport and coaching is evident by his thorough instruction on expectations, goal setting, practice strategy and effort, race preparation and strategy, and stroke, turn and start refinement.