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Life Time Athletic swim team flourishes as year-round program

By: Steven Wilson,
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Life Time  Northern California Swim Team

Coaches: Tim McCormick & Julia Roos

Tryouts: Jan. 28 

Time: 12:30 to 1:20 p.m.

Address: 1435 E Roseville Pkwy, Roseville

Rain is cascading down on the spacious outdoor pools at Life Time Athletic Roseville, where no one is swimming on this chilly, miserable afternoon.

However, the weather is a laughable subject to approximately 70 swimmers who train year-round for the Life Time Northern California swim team. The USA swim-sanctioned club can joke about the weather, because unlike most year-round teams in the Sacramento region, their afternoon workout is taking place indoors, in Life Time’s 25-meter lap pool.

Jonah Harm, 16, doesn’t hesitate when asked what he likes best about swimming for the Life Time team.

“No tarping,” he says with a grin.

Tarping is the dreaded chore of covering an outdoor pool that most year-round swimmers despise. Tired from a workout, swimmers must get out of the water and take an estimated 10 minutes to securely cover the pool. And every swimmer dreads tarping in freezing, wet weather.

At Life Time Athletic, swimmers can’t wait to finish their indoor workout. A mere 15 yards from the lap pool are a large Jacuzzi and a steam room that feel like heaven to a swimmer following a workout. 

“It’s the first place we want to go after a workout,” Harm admitted.

Life Time head coach Tim McCormick has been around the sport for much of his life. He was a two-time Section champion at Clovis West High School in Fresno and later excelled at Bakersfield State and Chico State. His focus eventually became coaching, where his year-round teams and Oak Ridge High swimmers have achieved great success.

Running the Life Time team is like being in a new futuristic car that drives itself. McCormick and age group coach Julia Roos no longer have concerns about securing a pool, worrying if it will be heated, finding weight-training facilities, and the many mundane things that can keep a swim coach up at night worrying.

Life Time Athletic has both a heated 25-meter indoor and outside lap pool, and two additional pools that are frequented by club members of all ages. 

McCormick says Life Time provides his swimmers with tons of options – weight training, spin classes, yoga, Pilates and numerous cardio-strength options – all at one location, a luxury other teams don’t possess.

“It’s one-stop shopping at Life Time,” says Shari Harm, Jonah’s mother. “Before we came here, the swim team was always scrounging to get a pool, making sure it was heated, and parents did a lot of volunteer work on the board of directors. All parents have to do at Life Time is get kids to practice on time. It’s heaven.”

Instead of sitting out in the cold watching practice or observing from a nearby car, Harm says she and many of the Life Time swim team moms have joined the state-of-the-art health and lifestyle facility and take classes together. 

Even a 70-mile round trip from her Placerville home to the club’s East Roseville Parkway location doesn’t bother the Harms, especially Shari.

“I’ve never been in better shape,” laughs Shari. “On rainy days like this I used to be under an umbrella and freezing.”

The Life Time facilities are first-rate and the team is making terrific progress under the somewhat laid-back McCormick. He might be low-key, but he also knows how to motivate, judging by the number of records his young team has established.

Record-setting times in the Sierra Nevada League, which encompasses programs from Modesto to Redding, have been established by older swimmers like Evan McCormick (Tim’s son) and youthful ones like Avi Mahajan, 8.

“Avi does multiple events and is a phenomenal swimmer,” coach McCormick said. 

As a coach, one of McCormick’s program goals is to regularly produce collegiate-level swimmers, and it seems he’s done that this season. 

Competing against much older swimmers, Harm qualified for the prestigious Junior Nationals and came home with three personal records (PRs). Folsom’s Hannah Joseph, 14, qualified for “Futures” meet next summer at Stanford University and Amalie Claus-Udarbe of Folsom is one of the top 11-year-olds in the Sierra Nevada League.

The Life Time Northern California swim team is making waves on a local, regional and national level.

“What Life Time offers is everything a competitive swim team needs to perform. And it’s all under one roof,” McCormick added. 

Life Time’s four pools are utilized by swimmers of all levels. In addition to the year-round swimmers, on a typical day there might be toddlers taking swim lessons, seniors on casual swims, triathletes working on technique and conditioning, and people of all ages doing laps. In fact, there were 85 swimmers in the summer recreation program last year.

Life Time’s commitment to a large-scale swim program for all ages, overseen by Aquatics Manager Elise Grice, is another reason McCormick left a successful Foothill Aqua Sharks Team (FAST) in Folsom and came to Roseville.

“Life Time supports its swim programs, from beginner swimmers to the National levels, as far as someone wants to take it,” McCormick said. “What sold me the most was how well they support all their swim programs.”

His jump to Life Time also allowed Tim to continue to coach his kids. 

Now 15, Evan was ranked Top 10 nationally among 14-year-olds this fall in the 100-yard breaststroke. His sister, Kylie, is a senior at Oak Ridge High and will most likely be a collegiate swimmer a year from now. Both siblings will swim this spring for Oak Ridge, where their father led the prep team to Section and State championships a year ago.

“I look up to my dad; he really knows what he’s doing,” Evan acknowledged. “He’s a great coach. He’s made me into the swimmer I am today.”

When the McCormick family hits the pool together for some family fun, no one disputes that Evan is the fastest. Kylie says she can beat her father seven out of 10 times in the 25-freestyle. But the respect is still there.

“My dad is a great motivator. He wants the best for every swimmer on our team,” Kylie said. “We butt heads sometimes because we are so similar, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I push myself to make him and me happy.”

The family will even be happier when Life Time Athletic Folsom opens this spring. Although Life Time will retain just one swim team, participants will have two training sites, making commutes for the McCormicks and Harms much quicker. 

Life Time has a scheduled tryout for its year-round swim team on Jan. 28 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and it’s open to members and nonmembers.

“I’m thrilled with the progress the team has made in such a short time under Tim McCormick,” Grice added. “Having the new Life Time facility in Folsom will be a welcome addition for everyone and will make our program even stronger than it is now. We’re very excited about our future.”