Team History


Then and Now….

 We are a recreational swim team located in the City of Jackson, California.  The origin of competitive swimming in Amador County dates back to about 1965. The Amador AquaJets Swim Team was started approximately 39 years ago. Sometime in the late 60s or 70s, the AquaJets ceased to exist and competitive swimming took a break in Amador County.  The interest in swimming resurfaced in the form of the Ione Marlins and the Amador Water Buffaloes. Bob Marmorstein, a teacher at Pine Grove, took over the summer swimming program in Sutter Creek and the Water Buffaloes fell under his direction.  He eventually brought his son into the Swim coach profession. Art Marmorstein inherited the job of running the team and at one time had such a large following that the Polar Bears had an “A Team” and a “B Team.”  It was during the mid-80s when the Water Buffaloes changed their name to the Polar Bears. 

After Art Marmorstein, Julia Sierk took over as coach of the Amador Polar Bears. Ms. Julia Sierk was the backbone of the program for 15 years, into the early 2000s. Julia is a truly professional coach and when she wasn’t coaching the Polar Bears she worked as a physical education teacher at Argonaut High School.  In 1999, Julia and others initiated the Argonaut and Amador High School swimming teams. From the first season, it was clear that Julia had an amazing ability to inspire kids.  These core principles have been passed on by subsequent coaches, including Mary Wheat, Carolyn Leigh-Wood, Ellie Routt, Josh Smart, Andrew Crosby, Stephen Howe, Lauren Struffeneger and countless high school age coaches.

The team is at the core of Polar Bear spirit and every child is aware of it. Each individual swimmer also has their own goals for improvement and they all know that their hard work leads to the team’s success. Good sportsmanship is emphasized to such a degree that we often hear from opposing teams’ parents that our kids are the nicest and most sportsmanlike competitors they’ve ever seen. A dictum of the Polar Bears’ coaches has been that the kids must swim hard and then congratulate the kids in the adjacent lanes, no matter what the outcome of the race. This tradition of good sportsmanship instilled in Polar Bears has had a great influence on other kids from Galt to Sacramento to Dixon.