As Head Coach I founded Osprey Aquatics in the fall of 1996 with 26 summer swimmers. Today the Osprey have about 110 swimmers year round. Coach Shannon Mackin began working with me in the late 90′s and together we have established a vision for the team that includes character development, innovative training, hard work and superior stroke mechanics.
It was the common ethos to pursue the best in stroke mechanics that lead to the early use of FINIS products. As my team was forming, I met FINIS co-founder and President, John Mix, and realized that FINIS was the very best when it came to innovating and producing top flight training tools and devices. OAQ was among the very first clubs to begin using the FINIS Snorkel in 1997 before it became fashionable. Since that time, the Osprey have consistently been amongst the best at swimming balanced. The snorkel has been instrumental in that outcome. The swimmers wear the snorkel just about every day for drilling, swimming or kicking in all strokes besides backstroke. In 2008 the team broke our 1st Pacific Swimming record in the 11-12 girls 200 free relay with a 1:41.70. Swimming with balance was a key factor in the girls’ success. With their heads in line, they were able to use all of their kick for propulsion and not for balance, just as the great Bill Boomer taught.
The Osprey had our first Sr. National qualifier last year when 14 year old, Linnea Mack, swam a 55.05 in the 100 back to break NataIie Coughlin’s Pacific record for 13-14 girls. The team trains daily with the FINIS Zoomers and Z2′s and Linnea in particular did a great deal of repeat 100′s back dolphin wearing these fins, emphasizing speed off each wall and getting in 12 underwater dolphin kicks before surfacing. That training was a decisive factor in Linnea’s race, as she relies so heavily on her underwater speed. The team also uses the Monofin and Foil on a regular basis for underwater and dolphin kicking.
The Osprey use the FINIS Bolster Paddles almost every day. These paddles align the hand, wrist and forearm in the correct position to provide early vertical forearm with a uniform application of force and power in all strokes. Whether drilling with Z2′s, pulling or just swimming with them, the Bolster Paddles have helped all the Osprey improve their stroke and the paddles have played an important role in the team’s success. Our team has had 5 different age group athletes as well as numerous relays rank in the top 10 Nationally, and we have broken 6 different Pacific Swimming records over the past 3 years. Last summer’s Long Course season saw OAQ rank in the top 10.5% of teams in the nation.
Being a FINIS team has played an important role in our success. Training in a 25 yard pool, the team doesn’t have the facilities or the large talent pool enjoyed by so many other USA teams. Over the years, with slender resources, the Osprey have had to do more with less in order to succeed. Fortunately the team has never had to make do with less when it comes to having the best in training tools and equipment from FINIS.