The Meaning Behind the Name
Since our inception in January 2011, many people have asked, "what's the deal with the name? What does it mean?"
The Race Swami moniker is a derivative term stemming from SWAMI Head Coach Matt Finnigan's swimming days training under the late, legendary USA Swimming coach Kevin Perry (1951-2008). "KP," as he was affectionately called by generations of great swimmers, use to refer to his swimmers as "Swamis," and as Finnigan explained, "It's about mastering yourself, your life—not just in the water, but in everything you do. Life is really a learning experience as you go along, regardless of your age. You're always in a position to learn. To master. With KP, it was never meant to be a cultural or religious-minded term... it was simply the fact that we were his 'Swamis' -- ready and willing to learn something new everyday we came to the pool. I loved that about KP, and that notion always stuck with me. He was an integral part of my life and he taught me so much about what it means to be a person willing to make a difference in life. Naturally, when we founded this club and composed the mission—it was only right that we pay an ode to one of the finest coaches USA Swimming ever had."
"Race" was added to the name because of the love for racing. So too, it was to pay homage to arguably some of the greatest racers of all time—the members of Isamorada-based Race Club, a club founded by Olympian Gary Hall Sr. "At the end of the day," Finnigan said, "kids just want to race... they wanna see how fast they can go—whether they're racing the kid in the lane next to them, or the clock, or just racing themselves. Whatever the reason may be... they are celebrating the spirit of racing! We wanted to reflect that, and so, a name was born."
As the team has grown, new athletes have joined the program. The team has swelled from 5 original members to close to 80 presently. As is generally the case upon joining, kids are given a brief history of the team, the mission of the program, and the expectations we have of each member. They're also asked what they think the name means—without really any help from the "old-timers."
Here are some of the replies we received—all coming from kids as young as six, and as old as 15, spanning three training groups (RSI, RS II, and Jr Swamis).
What do you think the name 'RACE SWAMI' means?
A Swami is the team member of the great team of the Race Swami!
A dedicated person who loves swimming and loves the other Swamis.
It's named after Mary Chris Swami. That's why it's called Race Swami. She is the founder.
Race Swami means, "Swimming to Race!"
Swami means something. I'm not so sure except other than it's a cool name for our team and I love our team colors.
Mary Chris' last name is Swami.
The Great Race Swami is the founder of this astoundingly vibrant team.
I don't know, but I really like it!
To race fast and to win, because everybody tries hard. I try hard so I am a Race Swami.
What is a Swami? A person that is motivated, confident, nice, and believes in their self and in their teammates.