Local News

Local swimmers concerned they'll be without a place to swim

Posted February 25, 2013

— The fates of where two major swim teams in Raleigh will practice hang in the balance after concerns that they might soon be losing their access to a Cary swimming facility.

Hundreds of swimmers with the Raleigh Swimming Association and the New Wave Swim Team rent lane space for practice at the Triangle Aquatic Center, but it has started its own team.

It recently notified RSA and Wave team members that, as of April 8, their lane space could be cut in half as a result.

"RSA is being reduced and Wave is being reduced the number of lanes they are allotted, but they're not being kicked out of the facility or anything like that," TAC President Derek Wall said Monday.

TAC had hoped to merge its team with RSA and Wave, he said, but negotiations, so far, have failed.

"We want to align our resources in order to provide the highest level of aquatic programming to the largest number of athletes and families," Wall said.

Triangle Aquatic Center Swim teams concerned by aquatic center's changes

Still, the parents of children who swim with RSA and Wave are concerned that they not only won't have a place to practice but that coaches and swimmers will leave the teams for TAC.

Swimmers are in contract with the teams and parents pay thousands of dollars each year. It is also the middle of swim season, and some of the swimmers are bound for scholarships.

Additionally, both RSA and Wave donated more than $100,000 each to help the TAC open.

"They're basically holding RSA hostage to allow our members to leave," parent Earl Parker said. "Otherwise, they're not going to give us any lane space, and ultimately, that seems to be their goal."

Former RSA parent Kris Pelt said she believes a merger between the teams and TAC makes the most sense.

"From a business standpoint, if TAC runs the team, it makes more financial sense," Pelt said. "They can have more coaches per swimmer."

RSA board member Mike Nobles says he's not really worried that the nonprofit will cease to exist.

"It's a concern, but we have a lot of volunteers doing everything we can to find pool space, and I believe the team will exist forever," he said.

Wave President Tom Burns says his organization is still trying to gather more information and waiting to see what happens. He is also planning a meeting soon to discuss it with parents.

21 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • jscott13 Mar 7, 3:05 p.m.

    I was not aware that coaches had "jumped ship" in the middle of the short course season. If that indeed is the case, then all parents considering going to the Titans should think long and hard about the decision. The Titans are new and it's not as easy as one would think to run a successful swim team. They may not be able to recruit enough swimmers. And as for coaches who leave a group of athletes mid season, BEWARE. They could very well leave the Titans to return to their former jobs if things don't go as they had hoped.

  • swimbikerun Mar 6, 7:55 p.m.

    To correct my prior statement. Lane reductions won't take effect until after sectionals, but the news is out and this certainly affects the morale of the swimmers and their ability to focus on the end of short course season.

  • swimbikerun Mar 6, 7:49 p.m.

    I agree with jscott13. The issue is not the fact that TAC wants to start a year round team. It is the way they are going about it. RSA and Wave are being forced to waive cancellation fees in order to secure 1/3 of their lanes until August, essentially allowing the new TAC Titans coaches recruit swimmers against USA Swimming rules. RSA and Wave lose the majority of their lanes and are forced to change practice times and cancel some practice groups altogether right before sectionals. So...the Titans use scare tactics and bullying to build their team. This is a pretty awful way to treat the swimmers, who are halfway through the season, and the parents who have paid thousands of dollars to keep this facility afloat. Shame on TAC Titans and those coaches who jumped ship in the middle of the season.

  • swimsport1 Mar 6, 7:32 p.m.

    RSA and WAVE are both USA Swimming member clubs with parent run boards. The board’s responsibility is to hire a head coach who can manage their assistant coaches and the organization’s swimming program. The head coach is also responsible for effective communication with their staff, swimmers, parents and the broader swimming community – leadership skills expected of similar roles in any organization. When those skill sets are not evident and the board does not act, the organization begins to break down. RSA has struggled to manage this problem for some time.

    TAC has a business model in place to provide a more stable program moving forward and put careful thought into selecting team leadership. TAC has hired some very talented coaches who are well liked and respected by both swimmers and parents. TAC also has control of their water - a significant benefit that is encouraged by USA Swimming for the long term stability of a program.

  • jscott13 Mar 6, 7:21 p.m.

    The "owner" made a commitment to WAVE and RSA and they, in turn, have helped to keep him afloat. He has a moral responsibility to the children on those two teams. I hope that for once, he will do the right thing. The coaching staff that he has put together has some good people. Are they better than the coaches at RSA and WAVE? No. Buyer beware.

  • jbk0315 Mar 6, 2:57 p.m.

    Actually the owner did not take his name off the sign. We are in the process of installing a new sign. The lettering for the old sign was cracked or broken and did not look very inviting.

  • LuvLivingInCary Mar 6, 8:11 a.m.

    noticed the owner took his name off the building sign. probably a good thing.

    the way i look at this is TAC is privately owned and he who pays the notes gets to set the direction. the investor backed the loans with 20 million of his own money. tac obviously thinks it is in a better position to be running the swim teams. because of the financial stakes here for the owner, i would imagine you will see a first class swim team put in place. TAC simply needs 300 year round swimmers to pay it's bills.

    anyway, in the summer all the non TAC swim teams move out into the outdoor pools for cheaper access. financially i'm sure TAC is trying to shore up it's summer revenue.

    saying all that...i do think the town of cary messed up when it refused to purchase the pool a few years ago for 8 million. after all they are spending 6 million on a theater that's about 1/100th the size and will NEVER pay for itself.

  • Aquarian Mar 5, 7:12 p.m.

    I think this all comes from one man who feels the need to dominate rather than serve. A pity he has to use other people's children to satisfy that weakness. Couple that with a senior staff of apparently incredible sycophants and you have the behavour we are seeing now.

  • jscott13 Mar 5, 6:36 p.m.

    People this is nothing new. From its inception, TAC has been guilty of various questionable practices. WAVE and RSA parents/staff have bent over backwards to help this facility succeed because pool space is much needed in the area. Before it was ever built, TAC owners admitted that no comparable pool had ever been profitable. I am still not sure why they thought that this one would be any different. sports lover, for years there were different rumors about this pool...RSA and WAVE cannot be faulted for failing to respond to every one of those. Anyone who has been around the swimming world for awhile adopted an, "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude, because there were so many of those rumors floating around. These parents are not whiners! They have good cause to be upset. I just wish that parents and swimmers had other options besides TAC because then the facility would be forced to behave differently.

  • Aquarian Mar 4, 5:25 p.m.

    RSA seriously considered the “merger” but it became apparent that it meant “take cover”; RSA asked questions and so TAC withdrew. In my opinion, TAC is bullying/stealing RSA. They are withholding lanes, advertising against USAS rules and threatening less lane space unless RSA releases parents from contracts. Titans could grow from their own efforts, rather than taking someone else’s success. RSA and Wave fighting over lanes is misleading; it was half the available lanes each and discussions as needed. I think this was just fabrication to try to justify the immoral behavior. It seems TAC thinks they know what’s best for our children, calling us whiners. A good team environment teaches life lessons but the kind of people and behavior that we have seen at the Titans are not the kind of values any parent would want to expose their child to. Parents have long memories and the people who have orchestrated this have labeled themselves in swimming and the wider community.

More...