ACAC Experiences New Kind of Growth

Alicia Slinger

ACAC Experiences New Kind of Growth

By: Emilie Cooper

Oak Ridge’s Atomic City Aquatic Club showed they had what it takes when the team headed to the Tennessee Aquatics January Invitational.  Going into the meet, the team worked on articulating goals for times, skills, and mindset. The team has been shifting from a focus on positive mindset to that of a growth mindset, and by the end of the meet, the team had seen real results with strong finishes and new accomplishments. 

With a growth mindset, the team brainstormed what could they learn from their races, particularly when things do not go as expected.  Some of the ideas for recognizing growth included sportsmanship, focus and concentration through race preparation and visualization, self-care (hydration, food, rest, warm-up, cool-down, and coach conversations), implementing skills, and coachability/adaptability.  Appropriately, the team saw real growth at this meet!

Colin Sudderth (16) showed “so much improvement!”  Both Coach Sarah and Coach Chris commented on his accomplishments.  He really amped up his dedication to practice and was able to pull things together at the meet to set 5 best times, including a whopping 13.62 second drop in his 200 Breast for a Southeastern Championship qualifying time!

Dorian Volcansek (12) won 6 events, demonstrated resilience and dedication after missing his first event!

Lylah Martin (13) tackled her first meet in the intimidating 13-14 age group.  It was also her first time swimming 200 Breast and she set a “mega best time in 200 IM” by dropping more than 9 seconds.

Katherine Buchanan (13) set a personal best in 100 fly which Coach Sarah was excited to say is “looking technically gorgeous!”

Avery Fisher (10) demonstrated her grit when she swam with the big kids in the Open age group for the 200 Fly.  The youngest swimmer in the race by 5 years, Coach Sarah commented “how fun it was to see her overcome the challenge of a physically and mentally hard race and to see her have so much pride in it.”

Isaac Cooper (9) had a tough meet that did not go according to his hopes.  However, he finished on a high note and personal victory when he checked the box on his goal to complete his first ever flip turn during a race.

Kaylin Toth (8) and Thomas Cox (10) swam in their first meet ever with the team.   

Also the same week, the team was served a real treat: Olympic level swimmers came into town for the TYR Pro Series. A rare opportunity to see the sport’s big league in action, 20 athletes from ACAC went to TNAQ again to watch Katie Ledecky, Ryan Held, up-and-coming swimmer Katie Grimes, and many other elite swimmers compete.  A surprise finish to the evening, the kids were able to meet 5-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin.  Missy took pictures, signed autographs, and let them hold her gold medals!  

Watching the pros in the big 50m pool and seeing swimmers not that much older than some of the team, left the ACAC athletes energized and wanting more! Coach Sarah commented on their renewed exuberance visible in practice the next day.

The team will be competing next in Kingsport, TN for the Kingsport Barracudas meet January 27-29.

Photo captions respectfully:

  • ACAC Boys (left to right):  Logan Williams, Jeffrey Nichols, Dorian Volcansek, Jackson King
  • ACAC Girls (left to right): Lylah Martin, Emmy Ziimer, Hallie Hill, Rory O'Neil, Katherine Buchanan
  • ACAC at TYR Pro Series:  ACAC Athletes at Alan Jones Aquatic Center

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