Narrows Swim Club is officially launching. I spoke with Gig Harbor High school swim and girls water polo coach Mike Kelly recently about his efforts to bring a competitive youth swim club to the harbor to offer an alternative to Tacoma Swim Club and other clubs.
Now, the idea is becoming reality.
Narrows Swim Club is now a USA Swimming-sanctioned club.
The NSC will be offered as part of the Narrows Aquatics Association. NSC is a year-round team that will provide a new swim team option to the Gig Harbor community. The team will be coached by Aaron Huston.
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“(Huston) has an enthusiastic, positive approach to coaching,” Kelly wrote in an email. “He brings a great depth of knowledge to the pool deck. His talent as a coach was recently recognized by Pacific Northwest Swimming, as they included Aaron as part of their coaching staff of the recent Zone Championship team.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Kelly, recently, and also with Tacoma Swim Club president Randal Keith. Kelly’s goal is to offer an alternative to TSC and other clubs, which force many of its swimmers to travel over the bridge several times per week for practices, racking up bridge tolls and expenses.
Tacoma Swim Club serves the Gig Harbor community, as well. It has for quite for some time. I also understand Keith’s concern about adding more pressure on the already-limited pool time in the harbor.
But as someone without a dog in the fight, it seems to make sense to me to have two different clubs on either side of the bridge. As someone who pays the Narrows bridge toll five days per week, I can personally attest to the financial strain the monthly expense can put on a budget.
Even if there was more pool time and TSC could hold practices for its senior swimmers on the Gig Harbor side of the bridge, the club’s Tacoma-based swimmers would then have to pay the bridge toll to come to practice.
To me, it would make sense to have one club on one side of the bridge, and the other club on the other side.
Regardless of my opinion — or anyone else’s — the NSC is moving forward.
NSC will start swim training on Sept. 12. Initially, all practices will be held at the Gig Harbor High School pool. Kelly expects people to have questions, and has organized an open community meeting on Thursday (Sept. 8) at the Gig Harbor branch of the Pierce County Library, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“This meeting will give the community the opportunity to meet Coach Aaron, as well as have their questions addressed,” Kelly wrote. “The NAA is very excited with the addition of the NSC, which will complement the successful long-running Narrows Water Polo programs.”
Kelly said he also plans to add a Masters swimming program in the near future.
“The Gig Harbor Old Swimmers Team (GHOST) will address the needs of athletes 18 and older,” Kelly wrote. “Emphasis will be on conditioning and competition for participants of U.S. Masters Swimming, triathlon, open water racing.”
Those interested can direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.