The goal of any youth team program is to get bigger, to attract more participants.
That is definitely true for Penguin Swimming head coach Greg McAtee, who has 11 years of coaching experience, including the last nine at Penguin Swimming.
"I'd like to see the team get bigger," he said. "We want (the team) to swim a lot faster. We're not satisfied where we're at right now. We have 95 kids on the team this year, and we average 90 to 100 kids (each year)."
While the club's numbers are not where McAtee would like them, Penguin Swimming has achieved national recognition for its achievements.
"We have kids of all ages and ability levels, from kids just learning to national-level qualifiers," he said. "Last year we received bronze-level status. Out of 2,800 clubs in the U.S., we ranked 142nd in athletic achievement, which put us in the top five percent of all clubs."
The Penguin Swimming team - a year-round program - was formed in 1998. Despite its name, the club has no affiliation with Youngstown State University, other than the fact that it rents the use of the YSU pool.
As far as the team's beginning, McAtee said, "People in the area wanted to start a USA club team. But they didn't have one. The local kids that swam in USA meets didn't have a team, so we started one."
The captains are Brandon Wilkinson and AnnMarie Bayma, both of whom attend Howland High School.
Howland's swim team was disbanded this season after the team lost its home pool at the former Warren Western Reserve Middle School, which left swimmers like Bayma and Wilkinson looking for other outlets through which to continue to compete.
"It's really good," Bayma said of her experience with the club. "Greg teaches techniques, not just endurance. He goes over the strokes and drills. He demonstrates different things to do, which helps swimmers with not much background in techniques. He'll talk to you both before and after your events."
Bayma, 18, began swimming at a young age and has plenty of experience.
"I've been swimming since I was a little kid," she said. "It was the summer before I was in first grade, so I was 6 or 7 years old."
Wilkinson, 17, has only been swimming competitively since his freshman year and credits the club with his success.
"Greg teaches me a lot of techniques I didn't know before," he said. "Fine tuning my strokes and dropping my time. He runs practice different and better so you better yourself. He helps you better your technique and endurance."
As far as how he feels his team is doing, McAtee said, "I think the team is doing rather well. We're still training hard. I think when the time to swim fast at the end of the year comes, we will swim fast."