New South County YMCA aquatics director Bruce Patmos has trained gold medal-winning Olympians. Now he has high aspirations for the local YMCA swimming program.
“I’m kind of learning how things work around here, but I’ll be running the swim programs in Venice and Englewood,” said Patmos, who has coached swimming for more than 30 years from Ohio to California.
Patmos, who started his new job on Aug. 26, said his primary goals for the program are recruitment and expanding the swimming programs.
“Numbers are down, but we got a great facility here,” he said. “We’re trying to up the number of lanes on our pool. The more we expand, the more who will come.”
Patmos will be holding open tryouts for the Sarasota YMCA Shark Team swim from 7-8 p.m. on Sept. 9-13 at the Venice YMCA on 701 Center Ave. and 6:30-7:30 a.m. on Sept. 9-12 at the Englewood YMCA on 701 Medical Blvd. Patmos and Robert “Coach Fish” Fisher will run the tryouts.
“He’s not looking to just get top athletes,” said Mischa Kirby, director of communications and marketing at the South County Family YMCA, of Patmos.
“He wants to introduce more kids and families to swimming. It’s introductory and grows into school competitiveness. It’s going to gauge where a swimmer is at to appropriately place them. He expects to see a lot of diamonds in the rough.”
In addition to training youth swimming, Patmos also plans to start a Masters program and a competitive diving team. U.S. Masters Swimming is a national membership-operated nonprofit organization geared toward adults 18 and over.
“The club team, we’re looking to get at least 150 by the end of the year,” Patmos said. “Masters members we’re looking to get up to 50.”
Patmos said he plans to train those in the Masters program three days a week at the Venice YMCA.
“We have college swim teams over winter and we like to attract more and expand on the developmental side,” said Pat Ryan, chief operating officer and vice president of the South County Family YMCA. “We’ll offer swim lessons for a farm system. We’ll grow on our success. We’re fortunate to have Bruce on board.”
Throughout Patmos’ career, he’s had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s top swimmers. He said he plans to invite former student Anthony Ervin, who won a gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle and a silver in the 400-meter free relay at the 2000 Summer Olympics, to speak to the teams. Ervin competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 50-meter freestyle, but didn’t win a medal.
“Bruce is going to bring a lot of energy to the program, because he wants to make it fun and competitive,” Kirby said.
For more information on Venice YMCA, call 941-492-9622.
For the Englewood YMCA, call 941-475-1234.