Sunday, October 16, 2016

My First Race

I had quite the interesting first race in a long swimming career. I swam from age 5... the summer before starting kindergarten... though my senior year of college at East Stroudsburg University. I also have done some masters meets as an adult. I tell the kids I coach that we all have to start somewhere, and even the Olympians like Phelps were beginners once, and we all do something to get ourselves DQed at some point. My first race went something like that...

My dad was coaching and managing Woodridge at the time and I was a little pool rat who finally was able to join the swim team. Overlook Relays were coming up and my dad needed an 8 and under girl to complete a relay, so I got to make my competition debut at that meet. I remember getting a team suit at the meet and that's about it... I don't even remember the race itself (Did I block it out of my memory out of embarrassment? Haha! IDK... I was 5!) so I'm going on what people who witnessed it said. My teammate was swimming down the pool and people around me must have been saying "Go Jillian!" and I guess I thought they literally meant "GO!" because... I went! Dove in and swim past my teammate. Yep, I DQed my relay on my first-ever swim. At least I showed up for my relay... ask my sister, Kendall, sometime how she made our other sister Sarah, and the rest of their relay not be able to swim because she was nowhere to be found (both were 8 & unders at the time). But that's her story... you only get to hear mine!  :)

-Coach Jillian Almoney
My dad and me

Monday, September 19, 2016

Meeting Olympians: By Cameron

I, Cameron, had the honor of meeting and being coached by Gold and Silver medalist Jeremy Linn and Olympian Molly Hannis this past Saturday, Sept 17. Not only did I get to wear their medals and get a picture with them, but I also received over 2 hours of coaching to improve my approaches and turns in breaststroke. I was able to ask questions about their lives and routines. I, along with about 20 other swimmers were there. Each swimmer had the pleasure of racing one of the Olympians. I raced against Jeremy in the breaststroke and he won after waiting to dive in after everyone else was in the water.
The Olympians were very kind and helpful.  This happened with the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour in Northampton PA.  I am excited for the next clinic on Sept 25th with two more Olympians.  They were very inspirational and they challenged us as they were in the water with us and showed us exactly what they wanted us to do. They were all super nice!
It was a great time!
Cameron MacKilligan

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Zones Experience... from a Coach

I had the awesome opportunity to be a Zone Team coach this past summer for Middle Atlantic. Basically, I was one of the coaches in charge of MA's All-Star team for the Eastern Zone Long Course Age Group Championships, held in early August on Long Island. The Eastern Zone is made up of all the East Coast states from Virginia to Maine, and Middle Atlantic, our LSC, is the eastern half of PA, the southern half of NJ, and all of DE. It's a really strong area for swimming. Each coach that was selected was in charge of a different age group, and I was in charge of 10 & under girls... 36 of them to be exact, which was the largest age group. They were quite a talented...and spirited... group at that! What was really neat was that all these swimmers who normally compete against each other, and some may have even been big rivals, came together to represent Middle Atlantic as one team. It also brought together a diverse group of coaches from the region whom I had the pleasure working with. They were all a lot of fun, and I'm grateful to have gotten to know them. Marauder happened to have one swimmer attending the meet as well, Jayden Almodovar. Zara Paisley had also qualified but couldn't attend.

We started out by having a team practice that Sunday at an outdoor long course pool near King of Prussia. We got all our Zone Team swag (drawstring bag, shirts, shorts, pullover) and got to do some introductions. It was a little crowded in the pool, but we got some work done and even ended with a game of sharks and minnows with the 10 & under boys joining us. We took a group picture to end the practice.

On Tuesday, we headed up to Long Island, NY to the Nassau Aquatic Center. It was a really nice facility. We had a team practice where I did my best to try learning the names of all the girls I was in charge of... no small task but I did my best! Afterward, since we needed to kill some time until his mom arrived to get him, Jayden and I went over to the park by the pool and hunted Pokemon using Pokemon Go... there were tons of other people in the park doing the same. We had a lot of fun catching some more rare Pokemon like Magmar. Then we got some real NY pizza that was pretty good.

The next four days were spent at the pool, with the 10 & unders and 11-12s swimming in the mid-day session. I was pretty thankful that I didn't have the early morning sessions, and got to sleep in! The first two days ended in triumphant fashion as not only did the 10 & under girls crush it, the relay teams won exciting races! The anchor came from behind on one to win it and the place erupted in cheers. My swimmers just had timed finals, so we didn't have to come back for the finals session, but the 10 & under boys' coach, Alex, some of the 10 & unders, and I did attend finals some of the days. There was a theme each night, and the kids had fun dressing up. They were VERY spirited!

It was a really great experience for the swimmers, even if they didn't swim their best times. For 10 & unders, it comes at the end of a long season, and it's a lot with traveling, sleeping in a hotel, and having so many days of competition. I know Jayden had a blast and I did too! I was proud of each of the swimmers and it will be cool seeing them around this fall/winter at various meets. I did eventually learn all their names, by the end of the 2nd day I think :) It was definitely a great experience, one that I might do again in the future!

-Coach Jillian Almoney

Monday, September 12, 2016

Welcome to a New Season!

Hello Marauder swimmers and families!

The coaches are very excited to be working with an awesome group this season. The Gold/Black Elite group had a great first week, and we are looking forward to Black, Novice, and Beginner groups starting this week.

Keep checking back at this blog where we will include updates on events, stories about swimmers and groups, swimmer accomplishments, and we plan to have swimmers blog about various things.

See you at the pool!
-Coach Jillian