For over two decades Brad Jones has been the face of the Fenton varsity swim programs.
For over two decades Adam Cooper has been the face of the YMCA Flint Falcons.
And now for the first time the two coaches will be combining their efforts to make their talents really shine.
This fall the Fenton Area Swim Team (FAST) created by Jones will merge with Cooper’s YMCA Flint Falcons, creating a working relationship that both coaches are excited about. The nowdefunct FAST team will now train as Flint Falcons.
“We have talked about having one club for some time,” Jones said. “This seemed to be the right opportunity to explore the idea and how it would be beneficial to both clubs. … Moving forward I can see only good things for Fenton’s High School programs.”
“Brad and I have known each other for 20-plus years and over the last couple of years we both came to the conclusion we’d like to do this together before we were done, so we tossed the idea around a little bit,” Cooper said. “Through the spring and early summer we came to the conclusion that it was to our interests to merge the Flint Falcons and the Fenton Area Swim Team.”
Fenton’s FAST program was created by Jones about 10 years ago, and had its share of success, usually fielding a team of about 60 swimmers from a variety of different ages. However, due to the varsity girls and boys swim seasons, quite frequently there would be issues with the FAST program’s practices because the school’s event activities had priority to the club’s practices.
The Flint Falcons host practices in a variety of venues including Kettering University, Kearsley High School and Carman-Ainsworth High School. With FAST members now competing with the Falcons, this will allow the Fenton resident-based swimmers to get quality club training during the varsity seasons primarily at Fenton High School, but also at other venues when the practices need to be changed. When the varsity swim seasons end, Jones will help assist with the Falcons program. Cooper said the Falcons “bring eight professional coaches to the table and we are going to add a couple.”
“This is their hometown and for us for the (youngest age programs), it’s much easier for me and much easier for those in the community to get younger kids to the pool area,” Jones said. “We will have a lot more kids in the younger division, which means we’ll have more kids in the older deivion which means good things for me.”
The coaches expect the Falcons’ numbers to grow to over 200 immediately and to larger numbers in the future.
“We put our heads together. … We have had a lot of good coaches come up in Genesee County but nobody had been able to get the right page for high school and club together,” Cooper said. “I think the sky is the limit now. We’ll shot for 200 and maybe a couple of years get to 300 swimmers. That’s the goal.”