Under the guidance and leadership of University of Idaho coach Mark Sowa, the Vandal Aquatic Club will become official on the first of September with a goal of creating a competitive and healthy atmosphere for its student-athletes.
“Our desire always has been to foster a healthy environment where athletes of all levels can discover how great and enriching the sport of swimming can be,” said Sowa. “With the creation of Vandal Aquatic Club, we have the opportunity to have continuity of message from our swimmers – to those just starting in the sport to post-graduates who are training for Olympic trials.”
Sowa will hold a town hall style meeting today at 7:00 p.m. PST in the Team Room C of the Kibbie Dome to talk to anyone who is interested in joining the program, which will offer year-round training for its members.
“Vandal Aquatic Club will welcome everyone who is interested – no matter their experience level,” said Sowa. “I believe we are offering a great chance for Moscow and the surrounding community to have a growing and thriving swim club that is linked to the success of the University of Idaho team.”
During his time at Idaho, student-athletes under Sowa’s watch have won 12 individual conference titles and have broken 37 Vandal records. In 2014, Idaho had the only NCAA qualifying swimmer in the Western Athletic Conference and the top conference finish by the Vandals since the program was renewed back in 2004. Sowa’s experience on the collegiate level includes time at Brown, Maryland and Harvard, but he also spent his fair share of time with club teams and developing swimmers.
“I began my coaching career working with one of the best club teams in New England,” Sowa said of his time with Ocean State Squid. “Their focus on stroke technique and aerobic development was something that transcended all age groups. We always approached the young athletes with a picture in our head of what would best serve them in the long term – not short-sighted goals.”
Sowa’s mentality of “until you stop swimming, there is a way to get faster,” has led to achievement in every stop he has made. His work with NOVA Aquatics in Virginia helped create of one the most successful and biggest clubs in the state and his Barracuda Swim Club is a two-time Bahamian National Championship team and
“I still very much consider myself a developmental coach, which is why all of our seniors this year achieved at least one lifetime-best performance,” Sowa said.