Curl-Burke Swim Club founder Rick Curl said he wasn’t sure whether to call it an acquisition or a take-over, but his club added a coveted location to its already expansive program when it stepped in after the Aqua Hoya Swim Club folded this month.
Curl-Burke secured the services of Aqua Hoya head coach Jon Rogers and landed the pool space that became available at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda.
Rogers, who previously coached at Curl-Burke, initiated the move in early July when he informed Curl of his plans to shut down the club, Curl said Sunday. Rogers proposed the move and helped facilitate Curl-Burke’s acquisition of the pool time, Curl added.
One of more than 30 USA Swimming-registered clubs in the Potomac Valley Swimming region (DC, Md.,Va.), the Aqua Hoya Swim Club was made up of 74 swimmers and four coaches, making it one of the area’s smaller teams, PVS Executive Director John Ertter said. Many of those swimmers are expected join Curl-Burke, which now operates out of 15 facilities in the region and is home to about 1,800 club swimmers.
“Most of the [former Aqua Hoya] kids are going to find the arrangement conducive to staying with the team as it evolves into a Curl-Burke site,” Curl-Burke Coach Pete Morgan said. “This just gave us a wonderful opportunity. It will certainly be an important site.”
Rogers, whose position as aquatics director at Georgetown Prep was eliminated in the spring, described the decision to shut down the Aqua Hoya club, which was founded 2002, as a “long, complicated story” during a brief phone conversation, but did not elaborate. He will become an age-group coach at the Georgetown Prep site.
“When you’re a club owner, it’s a seven-day-a-week deal,” Curl said. “He was finding it difficult to keep together the administrative part that drives the business … There’s a list a mile long of all of the things you have to do as a club owner.”
Curl-Burke will begin training sessions at Georgetown Prep on Sept. 8 with plans to use the school’s two-year-old, state-of-the-art aquatic center for expanded programs including coaches’ clinics, summer camps and team-wide swim sessions, Curl said. He negotiated a two-year deal with an option for three additional years, Curl said, adding that, “their facilities are as good as many small universities.”
Georgetown Prep Athletic Director Dan Paro said Rogers’s decision to dissolve the Aqua Hoya program made it imperative for the school to find a “good, strong” club to replace it. Rogers’s club was not known for producing super-elite swimmers, but some excelled. This spring, former Aqua Hoya Meredith Budner was named the female athlete of the year for Towson University.
The move allows Curl-Burke to return to its birthplace; the club began operations in 1978 at a far different campus pool before departing for larger facilities 10 years later.
Curl said Rogers will be one of four coaches at the Georgetown Prep site along with Susan O’Brien Williams, who will manage a developmental stroke school program.
“I will be there every week,” Curl said. “I want to let the coaches do their thing, but in some ways, I want to guide them.”
Curl said the club was conducting a stroke evaluation Aug. 30 for the start of training, but did not expect to fill every one of its available athlete slots for several months.
“Because of the timing of the acquisition, I’m not expecting us to be anywhere near peak-capacity,” Curl said. “I think we will gain momentum as people realize what we have to offer.”