New swim club is a break away from Malibu Seawolves
A new swim club in Malibu will be petitioning at the upcoming Parks and Recreation Commission meeting for community pool space. The Malibu Marlins were recently established after a rift amongst parents of the Malibu Seawolves.
On June 2, Seawolves swimmers, parents and coach Erik Ran were emailed that Ran had been fired. The news was abrupt. “It was a complete surprise,” according to parent Robert Brinkmannwho added, “although it had been planned because they had already hired a new coach.”
Brinkmann and other parents claim when they questioned the decision of Malibu Aquatics Foundation (MAF), they were rebuffed. Many Seawolves parents and swimmers demanded more transparency.
“They are a secret board and are not elected,” Brinkmann said of the MAF and also claiming it is a foundation in name only. “It’s a public benefit corporation, just like we started.”
The four members of the MAF board did refuse to identify themselves claiming, “We have carefully considered our options and have made the decision that will best benefit the club as a whole.”
It appears a conflict in Ran’s coaching style was the main point of contention dividing the Seawolves. Parents who wanted a new coach have generally said their older kids weren’t being driven enough. Brinkmann surmises those parents were hoping their kids would get college scholarships and wanted a coach to push them harder.
However, another parent said that although Ran was a great coach for younger swimmers he wasn’t a great manager. The camp supporting Ran was devasted by his termination and said Ran’s style was highly motivating. They quickly organized a new nonprofit called the Malibu Marlins Swim Club. Brinkmann says it is formed, “the way we would hope it would have been in the first place, which is democratic and transparent.”
Now the Marlins are trying to secure lanes for its swimmers at the Malibu Community Pool at Malibu High School.
“It’s in the city’s best interest to have the best utilization of the pool resource possible,” Brinkman said. “Since we have a lot of swimmers they realize that that might be just the solution.” However, a snag is that the city’s recreation guide was previously printed before the Marlins existed.
The new swim club is now in the process of a vendor application with the city and joining USA Swimming. The club is signing up swimmers directly. At least 30 swimmers are registered and Brinkmann expects more since registration has only been open for less than two weeks and because many other swimmers are on vacation. It’s possible as many as two-thirds of the former Seawolves swimmers could join the new club.
Registrations and certifications will be presented at the next Parks and Recreation Commission meeting “to show the support we have in the community,” according to Brinkmann.
It’s imperative the new swim club secure lanes at the community pool as soon as possible. Many of its swimmers rely on swim club participation as part of their Independent Study Physical Education (ISPE) program to meet their requirements for high school so they can take an additional elective and so they won’t lose valuable training time.
It’s expected many of the ISPE students will speak at the Aug. 15 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to plead their case.
However, a complication has arisen as the pool schedule has already been assigned to the Malibu Aquatics Foundation’s Seawolves. The Malibu Marlins say there is a provision for reviewing pool utilization two weeks into the fall schedule and potentially reassigning lanes if necessary.
The Malibu Marlins will be broken up into age categories: Young Marlins, ages 6-9; Marlins Junior Elite, ages 9-13; Marlins Senior Elite, ages 13-18; and Marlins Masters, ages 18-80 plus.
Brinkmann commented. “It’s a different philosophy of coaching. We appreciated what he (Ran)was doing. Erik created this feeling of a family where the kids love to swim and they couldn’t wait to get in the pool and they were still competitive. It’s not like he wasn’t competitive. He just wasn’t yelling at them.”
Any swimmer who would like to sign up for the Malibu Marlins under the direction of coach Erik Ran can do so by emailing Malibumarlins@gmail.com.