In 2004 Kurt Olson arrived in Modesto to begin coaching the Women’s water polo and swimming teams at Modesto Junior College. He was surprised to find that Modesto did not have an organized masters swim team and he saw a win-win situation in the making. He put the pieces in place to start a United States Masters Swimming sanctioned team and not only did this provide the beginnings of a masters team for area adults to join, it also offered his MJC Women’s aquatic teams a place to practice during the off season. And so it began…
The beginning of any organization has many tasks that need to be addressed – some fun, some not so fun. During the first few months of our little team there were five members who took on the tasks of naming the team, finding the best way to attract new members and educating them about how to pay dues through Community Ed prior to online access. Marketing our team so that we had enough people signed up in a given month to convince Community Education that we were a legitimate team was an early priority. MAAC started with one coach, Kurt, and practices were offered three evenings a week. The first assistant coach hired was Kim Andre Corgiat. Early monthly rosters boasted 20 members, and that first month we reached 40 the five of us were ecstatic. Julius Young, the first VP of the MAAC Board brought the most new members to our team. Tom Kara, now a coach and current President of the MAAC Board can attest to Julius’s marketing skills as he was one of many recruited from other area pools to join MAAC.
One March afternoon in 2006 Kate Towers received a call from Bill Grohe of the Pacific Masters Board. He understood that MAAC swam in a pool that could be configured for short course meters and inquired if the team was interested in hosting a meet. Kate, knowing she was completely out of her league relative to hosting a meet, took copious notes during the phone call with the intent of presenting the whole thing to Kurt. Kurt’s enthusiasm to host a meet was contagious and the Board agreed to put our best foot forward. At this time we only had about 1/3 of a monthly roster that was regularly attending members and this meant just a handful of volunteers to rely on for this undertaking. The one thing we all agreed our meet should have and the majority of us could wrap our heads around was goodie bags. To this day all participants at our annual meet comment how great the goodie bags are, along with how well the meet is run. Kurt was the announcer our first year and with his knowledge of swimming and great sense of humor he kept the meet running smoothly, everyone entertained, and the swimmers on time for their events.
Our first Swimmer of the Month was Matt Weinheimer, our first MAAC Board President. Matt had his work cut out for himself given that everything we did in those first couple of years was by the seat of our pants. Tricia Wessling was the first Secretary of the Board and took all the meeting minutes by long hand and kept a binder to store all the history of those minutes. Kathy Sandner was the first Treasurer and is credited with establishing our team as a 501-c-3 Non Profit.
Although through the years some of the names may change on our MAAC member roster, the team chemistry remains the same. Many visiting or brand new swimmers can be heard to say what a great group of people MAAC swimmers are. There are masters teams up and down the state of California that have try outs in order to be able to swim on their team or to decide which practice a new member will participate in due to ability level. MAAC has always encouraged the adults of the Central Valley who want to swim for fitness, competition or just overall health to join us and become a MAAC-lete. With a focus on teaching and stroke instruction, MAAC specializes in developing swimmers who may not have had a competitive background. This inclusive and friendly atmosphere has helped MAAC to grow from those early days to a club of nearly 200 members offering 14 practices a week. MAAC has been represented at National and World Championship Masters meets and continues to strive to meet its mission to better the community by providing increased physical fitness through swimming and competitive opportunities made available to all adult members of the community.