Hall of Fame
As I look back over the years up to 2009, when I first joined the Marlins swim team, Iím tempted to think that I was always a dedicated athlete, who worked hard every single minute of training and represented the ideal Marlin as I helped imbed integrity into the core of our team. Unfortunately, this isnít true at all. Itís actually the complete opposite. I used to be lazy (and Iíll admit that I still am to a certain extent), unable to focus, and disrespectful through the amount of effort I put into my training. I was also sadly afraid to push myself mentally or physically, which became a huge obstacle blocking me from improvement. Just ask Coach Scott on that one, Iím sure heíll vouch for me. But over the years as I was given undying support in the form of verbal abuse during practices, got the privilege to visit the trashcan weekly (this doesnít happen anymore parents, I promise), and ultimately able to experience the success that results from hard work, I realized that being a Marlin is a privilege, not a right. I was finally able to learn how to push myself in all areas of life while enjoying every step of the way. So in return, the least I can do is commemorate one final thank you to the following people:
Firstly, Coach Vargo. I wanted to thank you for realizing my potential and exploiting it to me through training that I had no idea I could get through, but you knew I could the whole time. Also, thank you for your patience; Iím sure I wasnít the most tolerable of your swimmers at times.
Coach Wise, I wanted to thank you for your pep talks in and out of the water, which you may think go unheard, but I promise you that I was listening. It just so happens that I am now realizing the value behind them.
Coach Scott, the first thing that comes to mind is wanting to walk out of your breaststroke sets of 500ís while you constantly reminded me that I looked like Tarzan, but swam like Jane. However, now I realize that I was being the annoying one for not putting the effort in that I should have. So looking back, you were right. Thank you for putting up with me anyways.
Coach Sue, you have been my only real boss, but Iím sure that if I were to have had more, you would still be the toughest out of all of them. I canít thank you enough for teaching me just as valuable of life lessons as I was teaching the kids in the water.
To all of the goons on the swim team, a.k.a my brothers, I wanted to thank you guys for all of the memories and mistakes we shared, even though those two usually fell together. Iím going to miss you guys, and West Point is going to have a tough time convincing me that there is a greater brotherhood out there.
To my parents and Tania, I wanted to thank you guys for the support while reminding me that I can still work harder, no matter how much I am already improving. Tania, youíve made me a proud big brother, Iím counting on you to kick butt while Iím gone. Love you guys.
Thanks again to everyone for the past however many practices, meets, swim trips, etc. Itís been a blast! ~ Dustin
Four years ago I decided to join the Marlins Swim Club. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The most swimming I had done before joining the Marlins was a couple months of High School season swimming. So, having to come into practice at 6:00 AM came as a little shock. However, it was not long after I joined the Marlins, that I really came to appreciate the sport of swimming. I realized there is so much more behind swimming than just showing up to a swim meet and racing. In swimming, there are countless hours of training and hard work put in beforehand. I know I wouldnít have been able to get as far as I did in swimming if I didnít have my coaches always pushing me and great teammates by my side.
Coach Wise Ė I never thought I would be grateful for all of those crazy sets you gave us; but I am very thankful for them because I know they made me a better swimmer. Iíll never forget those brutal distance Thursday morning practices either during the summer when you would push us all to our limits.
Coach Vargo Ė You have taught me so much over the past four years, itís unbelievable. Youíve taught me to keep pushing myself even when something seems impossible. When I joined four years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today and I have you to thank for that. You have helped achieve so many goals and helped me make my dream of swimming in college a reality. Thank you for all you have done and for pushing me to be a better swimmer and person overall.
Senior 2 boys Ė You guys on the team have become my brothers and best friends. I know all of those practices would have been impossible if you guys werenít by my side through them all. I have always been able to have a good laugh with all you, even during the worst practices. Remember guys, youíre on the swim team to be a better swimmer. Have a good time, but also never stop pushing each other and yourself.
Everyone else Ė I will never forget what we have gone through over the past four years. I couldnít have pictured the past four years with a different group of people. Everyone keep working towards you dreams and make sure not to drive Coach Wise and Coach Vargo too crazy when I am gone.
I want to make a special thanks to a group of people that really have become part of my family. Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Dunne for everything you guys have done for me. You two have become my second parents and home. I really am going to miss you two next year.
Now, thanks to a very special person that has managed to always be by my side. Caitlin, thank you for always being there no matter the situation. I donít know what I would do without you. You have become my best friend over the years and the person I trust the most. I love you and will miss you like crazy.
Lastly, I want to thank my Mom and Dad for always believing in me and really just being the awesome parents you are. Thank you for never doubting me and always supporting me through everything.
~ Thomas Reilly
Senior 2 Ė Even though I have only been a member of this team for a little over 2 years, it feels as if I have known most of you for years. We have definitely bonded on the team trips and those 3 day swim meets and there is nothing I wouldnít do for any of you. We have all had our differences, but that is just because we are all around each other 24/7 like a family and something that all families do is fight. You guys have done more for me than you could ever know; I can say with great confidence that I would not be where I am today had you guys not been there for me.
Coach Vargo Ė I donít know where to beginÖ.you have been very patient with me over these 2 years. One thing I know you have taught me that I will carry with me throughout my entire life is to be headstrong. I remember looking up at your sets on the board and my mind would start racing with excuses as to why I could not possibly do those time buts none of them seemed to matter to you. Because of that, you have made me a better swimmer and person. You taught me that excuses are just petty reasons that we create in our heads as to why we cannot do something, but with a little drive (sometimes to my house because I got kicked out of practice) you can do anything you put your mind to.
Coach Wise Ė I will probably never have a coach like you again and that makes me sad because you are one of the best coaches that I have ever met in my life. I am lucky to have been coached by you. Your sprint sets are what would get me out of bed of Saturday mornings because I knew that I would walk out of practice a better swimmer than I was when I walked in. You taught me to love the pain that comes with training hard. I will always remember your GBG sprint sets and how you would demand nothing but our best every set and the profanities you would scream at us when we were goofing off!
Senior guys Ė Like I said with Coach Wise, I will never have teammates as awesome as you guys are again. All of the inside jokes we have made over the years and the crazy situations we have gotten ourselves into make us more like a brotherhood than teammates.
Jonathan, Lliam, Juan & Thomas Ė You guys have been great! Life in Kentucky for me wonít be the same without you guys. You have been great friends to me and just because Iím leaving you guys (except for Thomas) doesnít mean that weíre not still best bros. Give me some finÖnogginÖdude. ~ Shane Intihar
My journey with swimming began when I was about 8 years old. Almost as quickly as it began, it was finished. Little did I know then about how big a part of my life swimming would become. 6 years later I rediscovered swimming in a new way. I found enjoyment and pleasure in both the racing and training aspects of the sport of swimming. My path was not as direct as some; I began swimming at the Y for both my freshman and sophomore years. Then for my Junior and Senior years, I transferred to the Marlins to pursue more competitive swimming.
At the Marlins I found a new level of teamwork, training and coaching. I was immediately challenged far beyond any level I had previously experienced. The team mates and coaches of the Marlins were what helped me to rise to the challenge. Without them I would not be where I am today.
Through good practices and bad practices they were always there, encouraging and helping me. Itís always hard to fit in to a long standing group but this team made me feel welcome, as I was one of their own. It is this support and camaraderie that makes leaving bitter sweet as I look forward to my college experience at Florida Southern.
Next year I will be attending Florida Southern College where I will be swimming on a NCAA Division Two team. I will be earning my degree in Biology for Pre-Med. As I look toward my time at Florida Southern, I can only hope that the experience will be as fulfilling and challenging as the experience I have had with the Marlins. I would like to thank my coaches, teammates, and the parents support group for always believing in me and helping me to become the best I can be. And Coach Vargo thanks especially for your support and direction. ~ Wil Mintner
Prior to joining the Marlins, swimming just wasn't the same for me. Sure, I'd go to a few practices, swim a couple meets, and hope I'd get faster - but that was about it. Over these past 2 years of swimming here, though, my outlook on swimming and my outlook on life have dramatically changed. I've learned the importance of not just showing up at practice, but engaging myself physically and mentally; I've learned to really love the race and competition of every swim meet; I've learned to not just hope, but to work passionately to achieve my goals. In essence, I've learned to love swimming. I couldn't have reached this point without the combination of fantastic, passionate coaches and fun, dedicated swimmers here.
Coach Scott - thank you so much for helping to modify and cultivate my breaststroke. Even though I would sometimes find myself thinking profanities and assuming that you were trying to kill us (500 Breaststrokes...), your passion and love for racing has helped teach me to "train how I want to race". Coach Wise - thank you for always being a strong, positive voice. It's always "a beautiful day in the neighborhood", even when it's before dawn, 40 degrees, raining, and I'd rather be in bed. Finally, Coach Vargo - I don't know the words to express how much you've impacted my attitude toward swimming and life. Pushing me toward goals that are just a little higher, encouraging me to work through the tough sets, convincing us all to give that extra bit of effort that makes all the difference - you've created not only great swimmers, but great people.
Senior 2's - thanks for always being supportive, enthusiastic, talented, and hardworking. It makes training so much easier and enjoyable. You guys can accomplish anything - as long as you focus on your goals and work so hard that they become inevitable realities. So make your goals a little more ambitious, work just a little harder. That being said, don't leave the values you learn from swimming - hard-work, enthusiasm, passion for excellence - in the pool. I know it's clichť, but try to be the best you can be in every facet of your lives. You all are amazing.
Finally, I don't know what I'd do without my family. Mom, Dad, Lou, and Joe - I love you.
To my fellow Marlins and Coaches,
Wow, what a journey it has been. I would have never imagined that I would be sitting here writing a "Farewell" letter to everyone. It just seemed like yesterday when I first joined right at the end of my freshman year of high school swimming into Senior 1; followed by 2 and half years of incredibly driven, hard, dedicated swimming in Senior 2. A total of 4 years that I will always remember, as well as the people I met and swam with.
Coach Vargo - thank you for all that you've done. Making sure I'm on top of everything in and out of the pool; saying your famous catch phrase...."I'll show you lightning!" We may have butted heads every now and then, but it was only because you were pushing me to become a better person.
Coach Wise - where do I begin? You have showed that swimming is not just a sport, it is a very competitive sport. I can be fun at times, but when it's time to get serious, "GBG, go baby go!"....telling us to sprint our butts off & always pushing us to succeed when it was time.
To everyone else - I'm glad to have so many memories I simply cannot forget; trips, meets, etc. It really was a crazy good time! Being part of the Marlins is like being a part of another family. We're always looking out for each other and occasionally picking on each other. That's what friends are for. With that, I wish for all of you to strive for your goals and don't give up on them. 'Till we meet again.
Most of all, thank you Mom. For being the one who would drive me back and forth from and to the pool. From the early hours in the days to rushing me there right after school; 'till the day I got my license. Also, making sure I was up and awake ready-to-go. Making sure I was at my best when going. To my Dad, thanks for being there for the tough times and saying to me "don't give up". Also for making sure to keep me focused and follow through with my passion.
I can't express how thankful and blessed I am for everyone to be right by my side. Pushing, cheering and supporting me. For that, I thank you! I could not be where I am today without that. Just goes to show you that you can do anything if you just put your mind to it.
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2010
Dear family and friends,
Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do, whether it is to my family, my coaches, or my teammates. Out of the six years I've been swimming on the Marlins, if thereís one thing I've learned itís to be tough. Right Coach Wise?
Before I say goodbye I want to say thank you. Thank you mom and dad for putting me in this life consuming sport, supporting every decision I've made, and loving me unconditionally. Thank you Coach Wise for talking me through my rough patches and always being truthful, even if it hurts a little. Thank you Coach Vargo. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everything you have done for me in the past. You've been a coach, a father, a teacher, a mentor and a manager. I have learned an incredible amount of life lessons from you that I will continue to use in my future. No matter how much I butt heads with you, I know in the future I will look back and say ďman Coach Vargo was right about EVERYTHING!Ē You never let me give up when the going got tough. I don't think I would have enjoyed my swimming career as much if it weren't for you. I owe you everything; I honestly don't know what I'll do without you next year. Expect your phone bill to be high because I'll be calling you often.
Thank you fellow teammates, you all have been so supportive, loving, and caring. I've met some of the best people during my time with the Marlins. I will never forget you guys.
John, I've gotten to know you within this last year and you're no longer Katie Curran's little brother. Youíre my best friend; you have all the potential in the world to do what you want. You are smart; all you have to do is use your head. I wouldnít have made it through this year without you. Thank you for being there for me, I love you.
Sam, Iím glad that you decided not to quit, it wouldnít have been the same without you. You've got just as much talent and potential as anyone in that pool, use it to your best ability. Oh, just letting you know you're more than my best friend, you're my brother and I love you.
Adam, stop thinking you know it all, because you don't. Listen to your dad and Coach Vargo. I promise they know what they're talking about. You also helped me better myself in and out of the pool in the past year, so thank you. You'll do great; I have no doubts about you. Good luck.
Rachel, weíve formed a great friendship over this past year and I am really going to miss youíre crazy face expressions and the weird things you do. Make sure you come visit me a lot. Just try to feel good in the water more than once a week. I know you can do it; you're strong and you have a good heart. I love you and good luck.
Caroline, keep your head in the game, try not to think about too much at once. I know you'll end up exactly where you want to be. Don't freak out. Thank you for being the best friend you can be. War Eagle! ;) I love you and good luck.
Caitlyn, my little sister, stay out of trouble. You've got a lot of talent you have yet to see, when youíre ready you'll be able to see it and you'll do great. I love you and good luck.
To all the rest of the team, I didn't forget you. I just ran out of room on my paper. Good luck with your swimming, I know you'll do great!
Where do I even begin? Six years ago I was an awkward little 7th grader coming into Coach Wiseís Age Group 2. And now, after all of the fun trips to Sarasota, Daytona, & Ft. Myers, the grueling Holiday Hostage weeks, and the hundreds of practices I pushed through till my muscles were Jello, it is time for me to leave the Marlins behind to go to college. But my memories on the Marlins swim team are ones I will carry with me for a lifetime. How could I ever forget all of the ďCoach Comments,Ē like when he threatened he would ďShow us lightning!Ē if we claimed we saw it again. Or the hundreds of times we informed him it was time to get out of practice, and he replied with, ďWe go by my watch!Ē To my teammates Ė you all mean SO much to me! I already miss you and Iím going to miss you even more this coming year! You guys really are my second family and some of the best friends I have ever made. To all the current swimmers & swimmers that have already graduated, there are SO many memories Ė puke in a tree skirt, the cloud, singing Potter Puppet Pals at YNATS, LeRoy Jenkins Ė way too many to name! To the underclassmen Ė some of you are moving up to senior privileges now! No more pulling tarps, congrats!! To the seniors this year, you guys are the best. Katie, I just have to say, talk to me like that! Thanks for all the memories out on the lake, calling hotlines and getting scared to death! Keith, one day we will write the Keith Says the Darndest Things book and you will be forever remembered for ďpaying homageĒ and your stretched out armpits! Josue, I will never forget our Coach video and you sprinting - ďJosue itís a warm down! Idiot.Ē Haha! Dylan & Devin, I miss those morning practice days hanging out with the Westport kids & listening to ďHey You ThereĒ and stealing your car! Amanda Ė my gym partner! All those times Coach told us we would never get anything done togetherÖ some days we did, some days we didnít, but Iím so happy I got to start off my mornings with our talks! I will miss all of you so much! Not only have I gained memories from the Marlins, but I have learned lessons that I will never forget. I am positive that no other sport could teach me the level of dedication I have learned from being involved in swimming. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning or pressing through 8,000 yard practices was never easy, but I am sincerely glad I stuck with it. Thanks Coach Vargo for always pushing me to set goals and strive to meet them every day, no matter what obstacles I may face. Through all the times I was so discouraged I wanted to give up, you taught me that going a best time isnít the only way to be successful. Success is always giving 100%. Coach Wise, thanks for pushing me to set my goals above and beyond the narrow dreams I could picture. I may not have made them all but they helped motivate me to push myself to my limit in every practice. To my parents, thank you so incredibly much for your support. None of us could be successful in this sport if it werenít for our parents! All the early morning drives, the volunteering to time at meets, the pre-practice energy snacks, and the countless swim meet meals loading up on carbs at Olive Garden Ė I appreciate it so much. I love you! Swimming has been a wonderful chapter in my life that I will never ever forget. Thanks to everyone who played a part in writing it. And as I turn the page for lifeís next chapter, I will forever remember the memories and the lessons you have left me with. Thank you.
I cannot express how weird it feels to be writing my goodbye letter to you guys. I remember watching countless senior videos at the banquets and reading past senior letters, thinking how exciting it would be to go to college and start a new chapter in my life. It is so mind blowing that it is my turn to grow up, after watching so many swimmers do so before me.
Looking back, I have no regrets for deciding to be a swimmer. I have learned lessons in life that I would not have learned easily if I never swam; determination, work ethic, time management and perseverance. Without these valuable lessons, I cannot imagine where I would be today- but I cannot give myself all the credit. I would not be the person I am without the help of all of my coaches. Coach Vargo and Coach Wise, I would like to thank you guys for never quitting on me. I know that Iíve had some rough patches in my days, but you two motivated me to keep on swimming through them. Your very motivational quotes (ďTrain the way you race, and race the way you train!Ē) and your philosophical witticisms (ďLightning? Iíll show you lightning!Ē) were repeated many times in my head. Thank you for keeping me going.
I would like to thank everyone who I have had the pleasure of being a teammate with. Every swimmer on the team gave me the motivation to be the best person I could be, in and out of the pool. I have shared some of the best moments of my life with my team, and I am thankful that they were there with me. I always had a blast on the Sarasota, Daytona, and Ft. Myers trips. Without them, the whole swimming experience just wouldnít be the same.
Most of all, I would like to thank my family. I started swimming for the Marlins at the age of 5, thanks to my older brother, Kevin. Growing up, I always looked up to Kevin and wanted to follow in his footsteps. I still do. He is my brother and best friend, and I cannot begin to thank him for all the things heís done for me. But most of all, Iíd like to thank my mother. Mom, even though you may have only been to 98% of my swim meets and driven me to practice 3085.3 times, youíve been with me 100% of the way, and youíve shaped me into the man I am today. I love you.
As I finish off my goodbye letter to you Marlins, I cannot help but relive all of the best moments Iíve spent with the team. Thank you for being there for me. If I can give one parting gift to you swimmers, itís this: Be all you can be. Also, get to morning practice on time. Coach likes nothing better than to spray late swimmers with the hose.
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2009
Dear Parents, Coaches, and Fellow Teammates,
Up to this point, I donít think I had ever imagined what it would be like to have to say goodbye to my team, and now as Iím sitting here about to do it Iím almost at a loss for words. Iíve been a part of the Marlins since I moved to Ocala as a nine-year-old and since then it has been a constant in my life. Now, Iím going to college, and it almost blows my mind that now thatís going to change.
Initially, I know I owe a huge "thank you" to my parents. You guys have always supported me in both my successes and my trouble spots. I know it took a lot to drive me to countless practices and make all of my meet attendances happen over the years. Still, I canít say how glad I am that you guys did it- cheering for me the whole way. You gave me the chance to have the experience with this team that Iíve had, and itís been one of the best experiences of my life.
Secondly, I think itís only entirely appropriate that I thank the coaches. Coach Vargo, I can still remember when as a 4th grader I decided that I didnít like you because I thought you were too loud and I was afraid that you would be mean to me if I was your swimmer. Well youíre still pretty loud, but Iím definitely not scared of you any more, and I will very much miss you as my coach. Coach Wise, I donít know if I will ever be able to fully block out some of the practices that I have had under your coaching. Still, even though I hated them (and even cried a few times) I cannot deny that they made me better. You two have helped me to reach as far as I have in swimming, and have in some ways not only been swim coaches, but life coaches as well.
Finally (and I had to save the best for last), I have to say my farewell to my teammates. My mom said once that there are "comrades found in misery" and looking at us she couldnít have been more right. Over the years that I have spent here, I can say that sometimes the only thing that made me come to the pool at all was that my teammates would be "suffering" alongside me too. With all the inside jokes (I wish I could include some, but it would make this way too long), with the laughing and talking that got us into trouble, and then with the support and the listening ears that were always there if I needed them, I donít know where I would be today without you guys.
Itís always strange when a class of seniors leaves-like there is a hole in the team that never quite gets filled up again. You guys might feel that, but you should know that Iím going to feel it too-and Iíll definitely have to come back and visit. Devon, Scott, Sean, Mike, and Phil, Iím so excited to see where we all end up and what we end up doing. I look back and I can remember when we were all in middle school, brought together for the first time under Coach Tarn. Now, as we stand at the brink of one of the biggest transitions in our lives so far, I can only say to you guys and the people that we are leaving behind: "Iíll miss youÖand Good luck!"
~Sam (a.k.a. Beatrice, Sambo, Dirty Pirate)
Being on the swim team has been an experience that I feel very
fortunate to have had. It has taught me a lot of important lessons and
values.There have been times when I wanted nothing more than to quit but I
am glad now that I didn't. I have made a lot of good friends and met some
really interesting people. I would say something to everyone but I would
most likely forget one of you and then feel bad. So just know that I'll miss
you guys, well most of you guys. No, I'm just kidding, I really will miss
ya'll. Our team is way different from all of the other teams. Some of the
stuff that we do and say is really weird, but tha's what I like about it.
The coaches are pretty cool too. I have butted heads with pretty much all of
them on numerous occasions but all in al, I'm grateful for them and what
they do. Leaving the team will be bittersweet. Part of me wishes I didn't
have to go, the other 99% of me can't wait to finally have a life. Once
again, just kidding. If there is anyone in this sport who doesn't get enough
credit, it is the parents. I appreciate everything mine have done for me,
from driving me to all of the practices and meets to cheering me on in the
races. Well I guess tha's all I have to say.
This is a weird feeling, writing a goodbye letter to the Marlins. Over the past decade this pool and the people here have become such a huge part of my life, I canít imagine life without all this. Moreso than almost any other influence, swimming has made such an impact on my life and helped shape me into the person I am today. I will always fondly remember all the thousands of hours Iíve spent in practices and meets.
Coach Vargo, I canít describe all the gratitude I have for all the years youíve put up with us and still show up every morning at 6, obnoxiously happy to watch us jump into the freezing pool. As you like to say, you have certainly owned a good portion of my life. Thank you for all that you give to us, your time, efforts, and advice. I will miss your nonsensical Ďcoach commentsí.
Sam, lifelong friends are hard to come by. Weíve endured a lot of long hours in this pool, and enjoyed many more otherwise (at the beach). Thanks for being my best friend throughout it all, every practice, meet, and year. I will definitely miss our numerous surf trips and analyzing every aspect of life.
Devon, what would I do without you? You switched schools with me, and weíve had a great 3 years. From our parties to river trips, weíve been through a lot. Youíre going to do amazing next year. Oh and God loves you.
Sean, you were my first friend when I moved to Ocala. Its been more than ten years since then and its been an awesome decade. All our childhood ventures and lake days. Wakeboarding and doing triathalons. Its been fun. Thanks for being my friend.
Scott, I remember when I was faster than you and we used to compete at every meet. And of course thereís the many phases we went through with you, me, and Sean. Legos, skateboarding, paintball, you name it. Good luck with swimming and thanks for the laughs.
To all the older generations, we all miss you. Aaron, Caitlyn, and especially Matt, Jordan, and Lauren, the pool is not the same without you guys. Thanks for bringing me up in the team.
Keith, you are the funkiest guy I know. You keep it real. Keep up the surfing and weíll have to hit up the beach whenever I come back on break. Mike, I love you. Katie, remember who youíre married to, Iíll beat up all youíre boyfriends, donít think I wont. Tori, watch those toes. And good luck with IB next year. Amanda, Iíll miss your office, and I will NOT miss your laugh. Devin, try and make it through a whole season without getting sick or something and youíll do awesome with swimming. To all the rest of the team, good luck next year and in high school I wish the best for all of you.
And of course, Mom and Dad, I thank you for putting up with my many practices and meets. I know weíve sacrificed a lot of trips and vacations for swimming and I appreciate it more than you can imagine.
I really donít want to say goodbye, because I know Iíll never find another group like this one. Iím excited to go study and swim at Johns Hopkins next year, but I will always miss the CF pool. I canít imagine swimming at a different pool with a whole other group of people. Iíll miss you guys next year and Iíll see you all on my breaks.
Swimming has taken up my whole entire life and I wouldn't have it any other way. The Marlins Swim Club has shown me many life skills that I will hold onto forever. Swimming has opened doors for me, and because of it I know I have a bright future. My family has played the most important role in my swimming. They were there for every swim meet cheering me on. I know my mom almost passed out at States. I want to thank Coach Vargo (I'll show you lightning) and Coach Wise (if you do it right, you all will get out 15 minutes early), for everything you have done for me, in and out of the water, the talks, lectures and all that good stuff. Also, all my teammates who supported me throughout my swimming career, THANKS!!!!!! I hope when I come down from college everyone will be training hard and keeping up the good work.
My Dearest Marlins,
Oh myÖwhat a daunting task; to write a letter summing up my years of swimming as a Marlin. Please know that no words can describe how I feel about the pool, this team and the wonderful time I have spent here. These past 9 years you guys have been my teammates, friends, and best of all, my family. However dysfunctional we are, we work and I could never imagine my life without any one of you. All of my favorite memories and stories are here with you all, as a Marlin.
Oh course, my coaches. Coach Vargo. I canít tell you how much youíve helped me grow as a swimmer and person. Your encouragement and guidance has made me the swimmer I am today. My confidence in myself has grown because you believed in me. Coach Wise, What can I say? Youíve been with me since I joined the team 9 years ago. I cannot express how big an impact youíve made in my life. I am truly a better swimmer and human being for having you in my life. I cannot tell you how much your advice and support has helped me all these years. Phillip. Youíre truly one of my closest friends. I can honestly say I donít know what I would have done without you. I am so grateful to have you in my life. Sean. Youíre honestly probably one of my favorite people, EVER. You are one-of-a-kind. You are one of the funniest, most genuine people I know. I am grateful for you everyday, and will miss you dearly. Scott. We have so many memoriesÖ that I canít pick a favorite. Itís been awesome to see you excel in the pool, I am excited to see your talent grow as a Gator next year. I am truly glad to know you, and always enjoyed myself in your company. Samantha. Thanks for being there for me I am truly grateful for our talks and your support through the years. Mike. What can I sayÖThanks you so much! I never had to say anything and you would know exactly what was wrong. Thanks for being you! Tori. Two words: CLOUD TIME! I have loved every minute Iíve spent with you whether we were crying or laughing. You are truly an amazing person and donít know what I would have done without you. Keith. I enjoyed driving you so much, you donít even understand. Youíre so real. You donít change for anyone, and I admire you so much for that, and thanks for listening to me, even when I didnít make sense. I will miss you next year immensely. Devin. I have enjoyed being your ďbig sisterĒ and I canít say Iíve enjoyed sharing my name more with anyone else! Amanda and Katie. Iíve enjoyed watching you two become amazing and beautiful swimmers and women. I am truly grateful to know both of you. Caroline, Rachel, and Little Ann, you all are beautiful inside and out. I have enjoyed all of you immensely. You all will do great things in life. John, I look forward to your hugs everyday, and have enjoyed watching you grow into who you are today. The rest of Senior 2, I wish I could name all of you! Please know I love you all and have enjoyed swimming with you more than you could ever imagine. You all are amazing people.
To all those who have graduated before me, thank you. You have served as more than role models, but big brothers and sisters. Thanks for everything. Especially, Matt. Thanks for being one of my closest friends. You have seen me at my worse and still love me for it. Words do not describe how much you mean to me.
It really is true when they say it takes a village to raise a child. Iíd like to thanks all Marlin parents for being there at the swim meets and doing all you do to make this an amazing program! The Darbyís and Sommerís. Thank you for the numerous car rides and support along the way. I truly enjoyed the time I have spent with you. The Hallís and Petryís. Thank you for everything. You have opened you home and hearts and I truly appreciate you letting me be a part of your family.
Lastly my family! Mom, Dad, Alexis and Kristen. Thank you so much for your love and support all these years. I love you guys and couldnít have done it without you! You are always cheering for me whether Iím first or last and that makes the difference!
As my time here draws to an end, I look back fondly to everything I have learned and accomplished as a Marlin. My life is much richer because I have known all of you. I am proud to say that I am a Marlin, you guys are the best family anyone could ask for and forever occupy a special pace in my heart. You guys mean more than you know. Thank you again.
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2008
I have always believed that new beginnings were
the hardest. Then why, I wonder, are endings the situations that bring on
the sincerest of smiles, the most consuming of emotions, and the most
heart-wrenching tears? I am afraid of leaving everyone that led, molded, and
guided me. I am afraid of the unknown, of change. I do not want to forget or
Dear Marlins Swim Team, coaches, and parents,
thought the day would come when I would be standing on the brink of a new
and exciting chapter of my life where I would have to say goodbye to the
people and places I love. The time has come though when I must leave
everything behind and start all over again with a new home, new pool, and
new swim team. The pool has been my home away from home in every sense since
I started swimming here 10 years ago. I couldn't have imagined my life would
be so changed by my coaches (second parents) and my teammates (brothers and
sisters). With the encouragement and love from members of all my "families",
I have overcome many challenges and I thank all of you.
My Lords, My Ladies and All You Other People Here Not Sitting On a Cushion,
I have been swimming for a decade now, and as
with every swimmer I know it takes up the majority of our time. It has become an
obsession and no matter what I'm feeling it makes me a better person at the end
of the day. I remember when I first started swimming I was short, round, and
pudgy. Now I am almost the complete opposite. (I mean I still have a little bit
of pudge) but I was also probably one of the most hyperactive, out-of-control
kids around but it has let me become who I am today; still a little hyperactive
and a little bit out-of-control but getting better as I get older. I
started swimming thinking it was just for fun. When I was 11, I started taking
it more seriously. I looked at it as something I had to do, like a job of some
sort. Take my advice train seriously and race hard, but always have fun no
matter what. If the coaches are yelling at you for some reason take their
advice, but don't let it get to you on an emotional level. Swimming is a sport
like any other, accept it's harder than any other sport. Do it for the love of
it and have fun. Life's short, take advantage of the opportunity in front of
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2007
Dear Marlins Swim Team, Coaches, and parents,
It's hard to believe that four years of high school is coming to an end
and even harder to believe that I have been swimming for over a decade.
However, most difficult for me to fathom is the fact that I will not be
returning to the Marlins Swim Team next year. The Marlins is a second
family to me and before I make that first major transition in life from
high school to college, I would like to take the time to thank everyone
for helping me in becoming the swimmer and person that I am today. I have
wanted to quit swimming many times in the past but because of the love
from my parents and the help, support, and encouragement from my coaches
and teammates I was able to overcome adversity and for that I truly thank
all of you.
My first time at the pool was for swim lessons. Never could I have imagined that these times in the water would be the first of many, the beginning of some kind of obsession. Since I joined the team in the third grade, I have spent countless hours at the pool, making it my new home for almost 9 years and one of the most important places of my life. Over the years, friends from the pool have morphed into one giant family, with Coach Tarn and Coach Vargo being our parents.
When I was young, I never really took this sport serious; I always wanted to play around and rarely did the work that I was supposed to. But, with the help of my coaches, things got serious. Practices were no longer for fun, but to actually develop strokes and to become a better swimmer. This transition was hard, I didn't really want to be serious, and quitting was always at the forefront of my thoughts.
Coach Tarn had the gruesome task of helping me through this stage; he worked through my sarcastic remarks and bullheadedness. Eventually, he turned me into a well-oiled machine that was churning up the water. I must thank you for that, you have helped me through some of the toughest times and have played a vital role in life.
Coach Vargo has further developed my ability and shown me my place in the swimming world. He has worked through the times of my bad swimming and embraced my personality; his truck was one of the first cars I drove. He has become family to me and has helped me to become the person I am today. You taught me how to make it through the tough practices and still come out smiling.
My teammates, family members, have always been there for me, through the good and the bad. There had never been a day that I haven't wanted to go to the pool, not to swim, but to see the team. You guys have picked me up when I've been down. Practices would be unbearable without the good stories and jokes making things interesting. Aaron, I wish you good luck with the Navy, I know its what you wanted to do and I will greatly miss you. Caitlyn, there are no words to express how much I will miss you next year. I don't know what I will do with out you, without the good advice that we exchange and the life stories that tend to keep things interesting. I wish you the best and know that I will never forget you. I would also like to thank my parents, especially my dad. Without him, none of this would be possible; swimming would not be a part of my life.
From the time I was little until now, my perceptions of swimming have done a complete 180. I have gone from the kid who swims because his mom makes him, to the person that can't get enough of the pool. My swimming career has begun to pull me in a new direction, college swimming. Next year, I will be traveling to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University and to become a member of their swim team. I can only pray that their team is a close a family as ours is here. Thank you to everyone, for all your support, I will never forget you and will always remember my times at the pool.
For the past thirteen years the pool has been a part of my life, and a very important one at that. When I first started I never expected it to become such a large part of my life. I was just out there having fun and always wanting to be in the water. Thankfully that attitude, for the most part, has carried through to today. To me that has been the best part of my club swimming experience. The ribbons, medals and awards have been cool but without the fun I find in swimming the accolades mean nothing. The fun for me is in the racing, the technique, the power of swimming. When I am in the water I feel more natural than when I am walking. When I am pushing through the final laps of a practice the sense of accomplishment overrides the feeling, or lack thereof, in my body. When I feel bad in the water, it's generally because I haven't pushed to my limit, when I have only given enough effort to hurt and not enough to accomplish anything. This is when the friends and coaches I have had over the years have helped by stepping in and pushing me when I am not myself. People from my swimming past like John Maloney, Eric Hilgenfeldt, and Derrick Taylor, have all had a part in getting me to where I am now. I remember chasing Eric especially, when I was a freshman and he a senior. Now that I am a senior I am the one who has to swim hard to stay in front, or the freshmen will be beating me. Many of my best friends I have met through swimming, and they are worth all the time and effort I have put into swimming alone. Some of my best friends live all across the state, and I have grown up with them. I will see some of them once or twice a year but when I do we pick up right where we left off. The friends I have on the Marlins team are like a family to me. If any of them ever needed anything I would do all in my power to make sure they had it. We have swum together, sweated together, traveled together, fought each other, and fought for each other. We are a team in the best sense of the word. To you all, good luck, and I wish you success. Coach Vargo, Coach Tarn, the two of you have been just as much of my life as any other adult, barring my parents. You've pushed me to excel even when I just want to go home. When I say excel I mean in every part of life, not just in the pool. You've taught me more than just how to swim, you've taught me the meaning of patience (dealing with me). When I am grown with kids of my own, you can be sure stories of you will be passed on to future generations. Now that I am heading off for the Naval Academy, the pool will still be a part of my life, but a different pool with different people. If my new pool, and pool family, are half as good as the one I have now, I will have a better situation than most kids could dream of as they go off to college.
For everything, thanks
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2006
Since my first day on the Marlin Swim Team at the age of 6, little did I know how many years I would be spending at the pool, and how important swimming would become in my life.
I would like to thank Coach Thompson and Coach Vargo. You taught me technique, goal setting and speed, discipline and respect. Sometimes it feels like I spent just as much time with you guys and the team than with my own family! But I wouldn't have it any other way. I have loved being a part of the team, and as I have watched team members graduate and move on, I realize it is now my turn.
Thank you Lauren for being such an awesome Harry Potter fan with me, no one could ever memorize movie lines as superb as you do. You always make morning practice a little more fun! Thanks for not only being such a great team mate, but also for being such a great friend. Marc, thank you for all those heart to heart talks and thanks to Matt for being there for me through those many tough situations. Andrew, just keep being your sweet self. Christina, you gave me so many rides and were always there to lend an ear and laugh with, thank you. Jordan, never lose your charm and Aaron, follow your dreams because you are one terrific athlete. Caitlyn and Amber, keep having fun...just not too much fun and Sam, dance like no one's watching.
Thank you to all the parents who ran fundraisers, fed us, and drove us to all those meets. I want to also thank my mom and dad who supported and believed in me. Not all families are willing and able to give up their weekends to hotels, lawn chairs and chlorine.
As I look to the future and the opportunity to swim at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, I want to say "good luck" to you all. Thank you for all the fun, support and wonderful memories. Each and every one of you will forever have a place in my heart.
When I was transplanted here from Ohio, right in the middle of high
school, I knew that learning the ways of and fitting into a new swim team
would be one of my tough adjustments. A lot of people might have thought
that a girl from out-of-town might find it hard to jump into such a
close-knit group, but the people here made it so easy for me. I have
learned so much more than just swimming technique - I've learned how to be
tough and stand up for myself and how to push myself to the limit when I
feel like I can't go on anymore. In two years, I would never have
believed everything this team had to offer to me.
First of all, I would like to say that my past two years on this team have been great. I have learned alot, and made a bunch of great friends. Coach Vargo, you have been my greatest mentor, and I have been the biggest pain in your rear-end, and always will be. Caitlin, you are awesome, and always made swim practice something to look forward to. Stacey, you're like a little sister to me, I love you. Sean and Scott just keep being yourselves. To everyone else keep swiiming in your heart, I promise it's worth it. I love you guys, and had a blast with all of you.
For the past nine years, up until this past November, I have been a member of the Central Florida Marlins family. My coaches have always been there and supported me. The most notable would be Coach Vargo and Coach Thompson. Now that it is the end of my senior year my new journey has begun. Although swimming will not be included within my life plan, I will always cherish the times I have had at swimming. Into my college years I have decided to become a member of Florida State University. I now have plans to go into the pre med program and then into a medical school and onto a plastic surgery program. I will always hold onto the times that I have had at the Central Florida Marlins pool. I especially would like to thank Coach Vargo and Coach Thompson for being there for me and giving me the great advice over the years. Good luck to all of the swimmers, especially Matt, in their endeavors and also to the current seniors in theirs.
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2005
With graduation just around the corner, I've been looking back
at the past nine years. I am amazed at how much I've learned and grown
through swimming. The sport of swimming has given me the incentive to be
outstanding in every aspect of my life. After starting to push myself to
my utmost physical limits consistently, in every practice, I found that I
was likewise doing my best ever work in school. Swimming has taught me to
approach everything in life with a passion, a will to succeed and to
perform at the pinnacle of my capabilities. Additionally, swimming has
developed in me strong character qualities, including self-confidence and
determination, which will be of benefit the rest of my life. It has helped
me to believe in myself, to taste success at a whole new level. I've grown
from a very headstrong nine year old who thinks she knows more than nay
coach, to a strong-willed seventeen year old who has slowly figured out
that Coach Vargo and Coach Tarn actually do know what they are talking
I can't believe that 10 years of my life have just passed by. It is
time to move on, grow up, and remember the memories that I have made with
the most important people in my life. I thought this day would never come.
I was almost sure I had more time, but looking back, it was the best time
of my life! Being a part of this swim team has given me more enjoyment
than I ever thought possible. Having a support group of teammates,
coaches, and parents has provided the opportunity for me to become the
person I am today. Coach Vargo, to you I owe it all. You know me like no
other. Your patience and determination have fueled me to achieve my best,
and your sympathy and concern have nurtured my heart. You will ALWAYS be a
part of my family. To my teammates, I wish you all the best. I know I
haven't always been the most pleasant person, but I truly love you all.
Each one of you has something unique to bring to our dysfunctional family.
Keep your individuality, and never let anyone get you down. I know all of
you will go far! Of course, none of us would be here without the courage
and support of our parents. I have been blessed with two wonderful
parents, who I know will love me no matter what. They are the reason I am
here today, and living proof of what love can do. All of us have been
fortunate enough to be on a team with parents who will love and care for
each one of us. I know that as a member of this team, my heart will always
be looked after. Thank you for giving me the most precious gift of all,
your love. I know I will never find a team, friendship or family like the
Marlins. You are my home, and an everlasting part of my heart.
The past five years of my life, have been some of the most memorable times ever for me. I've had the incredible opportunity to meet some of the best people in the world. For all the things I have been blessed with since moving to Ocala, are because of this swim team. Everyone on this team has made me a better person and has also given me some of the best experiences of my life. All of you are the reason I get up in the morning, because I know you are doing the same thing with me. You've helped me to grow as a person and for that I do not know how to thank you. First, I'm going to thank the coaches. You have taken me from a small, summer Patriots swimmer, and transformed me into a small, Senior 2 swimmer. Everything that you have done has made me a better swimmer, even though I might have complained about it; it was all worth it in the end. Coach Thompson and Coach Vargo you have lead me through some very crazy times, and kept me focused on what is important in life, both of you were the key to my development into a true swimmer. Then there are the swimmers, it will be very hard for me to say goodbye. All of you are so important to me; I do not know how I would have made it through life without you guys. Caroline, you are one of the best people I have ever met, we have been through a lot together, good times and bad, and I hope you come and visit me so we can get into even more trouble. Alex (James), you are the funniest person in the world; we all get the best laughs from you. Christina, we are all so glad you moved from Ohio to be with us, you're an outstanding person, and I always hope the best for you. Caitlyn, you're the most original person I've met...ever, and for that we all over you. Caitlin, you still have to teach me how to wakeboard! The Aikens, you guys always make us want to strive for our best; I wish the best of luck to the both of you. The Wollenschlaeger's, keep being yourselves. Christie and Lauren, you guys are always riding with me in the mornings, you experience me at my best, and you two always have a place in my heart. For everyone else, you all are great people, and I hope that every stays swimming and has fun! Thank you all so much for everything, I just wish I could return the great things you have given to me.
I have spent the past 13 years on this team and now it's my
time to go. Graduation is just around the corner and then I'll be leaving
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2004
Well it's getting close to graduation, and with every
passing day, I sit back and think of where I would be if I wasn't a
swimmer. I think about who my friends would be. I even think of who I
would be as a person. Without swimming I don't ever think I would have met
any of the people that make up such an important part of my life. I
wouldn't have had the privilege of being mentored by Coach Vargo and Coach
Thompson. I wouldn't have met my best friend and soon to be roommate. I
might even be playing baseball right now,who would of thought. What I'm
trying to say is, without joining the swim team and being a Marlin, my
life would be totally different. I am thankful I swim and love doing it.
But most of all, I am thankful of who I have met along the way. So for the
rest of you youngsters, enjoy your time swimming, enjoy the friends you
swim with, and have fun doing both. For all of those I leave behind, I bid
farewell,don't get too exited, I will be back when school's out. Finally,
young apprentice. Keep achieving your goals, stand tall, be proud, and
never let anyone tell you anything different. Coach, Mom, Dad, Friends,
you all gave me motivation, and I thank you all so very much for that.
Dear Marlins Swimmers, Family, and Coaches,
The past eleven years of my life I have been smelling like chlorine. I'm
probably going to have that same aroma for four more years. This swim team
has made me into the person I am today. There are so many things I have
learned and friendships I have made. The lessons instilled in me will last
the rest of my life.
Graduating Seniors - Class of 2003
This is the end, the end of my life with little
responsibility. Now as I begin to walk away, I am forced to think about
all of my memories, the good and the bad. I can remember back to swim
lessons in California and the first time I swam at CFCC.
Dear Marlins swimmers, coaches, and parents,
I'm not going to start off by saying, "I can't believe it's done", because to me it's far from it. Of course, My years being in the water, having those joyous 5am, below 60| practices are over, but I will never stop thinking of the countless memories I've had with all of you. They will never be over. The Marlins was the biggest part of my life for seven years, and will continue to be a part of me. I've spent almost half of my life to this day with you! How could it just be over? I believe in the idea that one's personality is a bundle of little pieces of countless personalities of others that we have known in our lives, meaning you all are a part of who I am today. Not only have these past seven years been spent being modeled as an athlete but also being shaped as a person. I wouldn't want to have spent the first part of my life with any other group of people but you, and I'd like to thank you for your friendship, guidance, and memories of the good times and even the bad times, because they have all shaped me into being the stronger person that I am today. I do have some more learning and shaping to do in the next part of my life at UF, but because of you, I know why childhood always holds life's fondest memories, and I'll never forget them. Years from now, when I look back on my childhood, all of you will be there, making me smile. So, you see, to me, I'm not done with the Marlins. I never will be. You will always be a part of me that I cherish, and I will never forget you.
I love you and I'll miss you,
Dear Swimmers & Parents,
The time has finally come for me to say "Goodbye". I will always have fond memories of each and every one of you. For the past 15 years, swimming has been a part of my life, and I never thought this day would come.
I want to take this time to say goodbye to the parents who have watched me grow up alongside their children. The memories I have with everyone will always be a part of my life; because they were such a huge part of my childhood.
It is so hard to say goodbye to you guys, because you are like family to me. We have all been through our "ups and downs" with each other. The smiles and laughs that we all shared will always be in my heart.
I know I can't mention everyone but I would like to say that I have never known anyone who fought back as hard as Caroline Robertson. I only have one thing to say to you: "Girl, you're on the right track, don't stop now!" I will miss Jules' smiling face at the end of the race saying you did "GREAT", even when I thought it was a really bad swim, Eric's hugs when I was down, Kevin in all his manliness, John P. and I always fighting, Caroline making me laugh when we pushed cars at 6 a.m. and Justin always being tired. These memories will never fade; they will only grow more cherished over time.
To all the swimmers who have moved into Senior II, I have enjoyed this past year with you. If I could leave you with one word of advice it would be this: "Don't take anyone on the team for granted, because one day they will really mean a lot to you."
To the Coaches:
Coach Tarn, if I could write down everything you say or record it I would, because somewhere down the road I'm sure it will come in handy. Thank you for putting up with my whining, and pushing me that extra mile. Your jokes and sense of humor will be something I will always remember. Thank you once again.
To my dad, I would like to thank you for putting up with me in general. Swimming was one of the best things I ever did. It has taught me a lot and so have you. No one could have ever been a better coach and dad at the same time.
I will miss you all,