The Early Days
Swim Neptune was born out of a desire to see a fundamental change in competitive swimming in Arizona. I coached the summer team at the Phoenix Swim Club for four years. Each year we would get about 20-25 kids to join the year-round team in the fall. When I came back at semester break there would be two or three left. I figured there had to be a better way to keep these kids involved in the sport. Many teams required kids with any sort of swimming promise to be in the pool 5-6 days a week. When Swim Neptune started it was at just one pool (the Village Camelback), offering practice for one hour, three days a week. The focus was primarily on stroke technique and carrying that energy and excitement of a summer team atmosphere into a year-round program.
The initial name of the team was Neptune Natation. Even early on the vision for the team went beyond a single city so I wanted something that would be universal. Neptune, the sea personified in Roman mythology, seemed like a great fit. Natation, a fancy word meaning “the art of swimming,” was a perfect fit for what I was doing with the program, but in the end turned out to be a little too obscure. Nobody knew what it meant and, after being called “Neptune Nation” a little too often, I settled on the simpler “Swim Neptune.” This name change coincided with the ascension of the competitive team.
For the first several years, the focus of the team was on the summer league season. Practice was only offered 3 days per week at the Village and the JCC. Though we attended USA meets in the fall, we did not have kids qualifying for the State meet so the focus remained on summer league. By 2005, the team won the summer league championship and outgrew the exclusive focus on developmental swimming. The philosophy lived on in what became the Trident program, but the focus of our top swimmers gradually shifted to true “competitive swimming.”