Hi! I’m Dave Arluck, Founder & CEO of Fitter & Faster. I hope 2023 has been a good year for you and that you have great expectations in the new year that’s about to roll in.
Like just about everyone reading this, I’m a parent and swimming is part of our family’s lives. My wife and I have two kids. Our son Alex just turned 15 and is in 9th grade. He has been club swimming since he’s about 8. Our daughter Alivia is 7 and takes periodic swim lessons. So far it has not looked as though she will swim competitively, but lately she has been regularly wearing a Fitter & Faster t-shirt that she tie-dyed as a night shirt… so ya’ never know.
I started planning the creation of a “swim clinic” company in 2008 just a little bit before Alex was born. The mission back then was largely the same as it exists today: I wanted to create events throughout the USA to eliminate costs to teams and make them accessible to every swimmer and not just to one specific team. I also wanted to create a platform that enabled elite level swimmers to share their unique knowledge of the sport and generate income, while giving them valuable work experience that they can put on their resumes.
Since then our mission remains the same, but the company has evolved a lot. Our first camp was in August of 2009 and 15 years later we have more than 30,000 participants annually in every state across the USA, Canada and beyond. Session sizes are smaller. The age groups and ability levels within sessions are more narrow. Our curriculum options are also much more broad today.
Watching my son and his friends progress in the sport over the years has inspired new ideas for camps that have become quite popular. I’ve learned a lot about where Fitter & Faster can add value by watching age group swim meets. There’s a good reason that soon after the creation of our Underwaters Curriculum, it quickly became one of our most requested camps. I believe the newly introduced “Achieving Success Through Accountability and Habit Building” Swim Camps will soon become quite popular as well. Stay tuned for several additional new curriculums to be announced in the next few weeks.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my son moving away to go to college in 3-and-a-half years. I’m sure many of you have gone through the process of a child leaving your home. While the thought of Alex making his way in the world is exciting, the thing I’m going to miss the most are the brief periods of time every single day, created by his swim routine, that gives us alone time.
Our quiet pre-morning practice breakfast of Rice Crispies with cut up strawberries; the practice car rides and dinners are “regular” moments in our individual routines that we are able to share naturally. I learned to make sure I’m available for these particular moments… and they are now the most looked forward parts of my daily routine.
The magic happens in the car. Sometimes the conversation is active. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we argue. We listen to music together and sometimes we sing. Sometimes one of us is grumpy. We play word games. Sometimes the rides are tough after a disappointing session at a meet. And other times the energy is so good. Sometimes we sit in silence. Oftentimes I say “get off TikTok”. But, there’s no place I’d rather be than in that car with Alex driving to practice.
I appreciate Alex’s swimming for giving us a regular activity that I get to plan into my day that enables my daily routine to overlap with his. As parents once our kids learn to drive and move out – there isn’t going to be any place they will need us to drive them to. Dinner together will need to be coordinated. It will be different. I see that time coming. So, I’m cherishing these moments that the “swim routine” has brought us.
Time is hard to come by with work and other responsibilities. Being the parent of a swimmer is time consuming, but I hope you are enjoying the journey and the simple moments that our sport brings to families. Swimming fast at meets is really fun, but embracing every step within the journey is what makes the entire experience fulfilling. Same thing can be said about achieving goals at work and in other areas of life. If the focus is only on the results – it’s not too fulfilling.
As we close out a terrific year for Fitter & Faster, I’d like to express how thankful I am to every parent who signs their kids up for our camps. Thank you to the countless coaches who recommend Fitter & Faster camps to their swimmers. Swimmers, thank you for coming – I appreciate you a lot!
Thank you to all of our clinicians and my teammates behind the scenes who make everything happen. I especially appreciate feedback from everyone: swimmers, parents, coaches, clinicians, facilities and everyone else we work with. Your communication with us enables us to always work at being the best versions of ourselves.
I will never take Fitter & Faster’s role in the world of competitive swimming development for granted. I recognize we are important in the lives of your swimmers and you are very important to us.
I wish you a happy, healthy and memorable 2024.