SMAC: ‘Rich tradition and history’

Norm Wright had heard of the Waynesboro YMCA long before he ever applied for the job as head aquatics director and head coach of the Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club there.

“The rich tradition of swimming here in Waynesboro and the surrounding area dates back to the mid-’60s, and when you walk in the Y, you see the pictures on the walls and the records and plaques of everything. It’s really a very inviting, rich tradition and history here in Waynesboro – something that can provide some opportunities for futures to come,” said Wright, who is wrapping up his first season at the helm at the Y, and what a successful season it has been.

One of his swimmers, 14-year-old Remedy Rule, has qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials. SMAC recently won Small Team state titles in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the Virginia State Age Group Championship. And the future is looking bright.

Wright came to Waynesboro with 15 years of experience in coaching dating back to his senior year in college, when he began his coaching career while recovering from an injury. A top youth and college swimmer himself, Wright knows personally the benefits that swimming can bring to youths.

“Competitive swimming provides an opportunity not only to learn to swim, with the astonishing drowning rates in the country, but we also provide a safe environment for learning and also competitiveness with the YMCA core values in mind – caring, honesty, respect and responsiblity – always being a part of our program and a part of our philosophy,” Wright said.

“Not only that, but kids will learn a sense of community and take a sense of ownership in a YMCA, in a program they can work hard at, and feel like they’ve accomplished something. Be a part of a team, cheer on their teammates. And the value of being able to put something into a program that will then put something into you is immeasurable,” Wright said.

“We’re teaching them organization at a time in their life at appropriate levels that will help them develop a love for swimming for the rest of their lives,” Wright said.

Open House

Swimmers ages 6-12 who are interested in year-round swimming are invited to an open house for the Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club at the Waynesboro YMCA.

The open house dates are:

– Monday, Aug. 29, 4-5 p.m.
– Tuesday, Aug. 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
– Wednesday, Aug. 31, 4-5 p.m.
– Thursday, Sept. 1, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Swimmers should be able to swim one length of the pool freestyle and backstroke to attend the open house.

The first 40 minutes for a swimmer is an in water evaluation by the SMAC coaches.

The first 40 minutes for the parents is an overview of our program from SMAC head coach Norm Wright.

The last 20 minutes will be for parents to meet the rest of the coaching staff and ask questions.

The open houses will be held in the pool and observation room at the Waynesboro YMCA.

Questions: Contact Norm Wright at or 540.943.9622.

Want more information?

Stop by the front desk or contact us by email or phone.