City of Midland Swimming Team
In 1967, the Midland Independent School District maintained a competitive swim team in its athletic curriculum which was supported by a YMCA program and subsequently developed a reasonably competitive high school swim team. In 1967, competitive swimming had become a very popular athletic program for young men and women throughout the United States under supervision of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). A handful of determined Midland parents decided to create an AAU swim team and aquatic program with the result that on October 6, 1967, they received the “Texas Certificate of Incorporation” creating the “City of Midland Swim Team, Inc.” It had no pool, no coach, 20 swimmers and a board of directors of three. One month later on November 2, 1967, it had a board of 10, AAU membership certification, its first coach, Don Foglesong, and pool time from the Midland Independent School District needed for training. In late November, 1967, C.O.M. entered its first meet in the Amarillo Texas Golden Spread Invitational Age Group Meet.
1968 to 1973
Ignoring the obvious limitations of distance, population and lack of facilities, the board of directors dedicated C.O.M. to reach for national and state competition. In November, 1967, C.O.M. hired as its coach Terry Gathercole, a former Australian Olympic swimmer and then-coach of the Australian Olympic Women’s Swim Team. Struggling through months of governmental red tape and with the assistance of the Attorney General of the United States, Bobby Kennedy, Coach Gathercole, wife Carol and son Ben, arrived in Midland in October, 1968. By the summer of 1970, the team was competing in swimming and diving and had qualified numerous swimmers to compete in the Texas Age Group Championships, long course and short course, and placed as a team, in the top ten in Texas. In addition, C.O.M. was sending senior swimmers to Junior Nationals and national competitions. From 1970 through 1973, C.O.M. regularly qualified Age Group Swimmers in the top ten ranking in USA Swimming.
In 1972, the team committed to build its own 25-yard, eight-lane, indoor pool and under the leadership of Coach Gathercole and John Tyler (President of the C.O.M. Board), with tremendous support from C.O.M. families, the community of Midland, the Mabee Foundation and a loan from the First National Bank, the Mabee Memorial Swim Center opened its doors in late 1972. The facility was owned and operated by a board elected by the active adult members of the competitive team. In early 1973, C.O.M. hosted the Texas Short Course Age Group Championships in which C.O.M. lost the state championship in the last relay of the final night by a handful of points.
1973 to 1987
Terry Gathercole completed his five-year contract with C.O.M. in the summer of 1973 and returned to Australia. His successor, George French, former coach of Ladera Oaks Swim Team in California and coach of world record holder John Nabors, took over the team and continued its successful program for two years. In 1975 Doug Ingram, a familiar name today in Nations USA swimming took over and continued C.O.M.’s program. In 1979 Doug accepted the job at Indian River Junior College where he developed many Junior College Championship teams. From 1978 t 1984 C.O.M. struggled with a succession of coaches. In 1984, C.O.M. hired a former C.O.M. swimmer, Brad Swendig, a nationals finalist in the back stroke and university swimmer at both Texas A&M and Auburn University. C.O.M. continued its successful ways with over 200 competitive swimmers, qualifying Junior Nationals and Nationals swimmers, state of Texas champions and age group top ten swimmers.
1988 to 2007
In 1990, with the growth of the team and other programs, C.O.M. began making plans to expand its facility again. C.O.M. enlisted the help of longtime supporter Charles Koch. As a former C.O.M. chairman of the board, Texas Swim Association President and author of the national U.S. Swimming by-laws, Mr. Koch was the visionary for the C.O.M. swim team. With the aid of Jim Brown, the C.O.M. President of the Board, and Head Coach Brad Swendig, a building committee was formed to raise funds and design a state-of-the-art facility. The fund-raising committee, with help again from the Mabee Foundation, the Abell Hanger Foundation and many other supporters in Midland and from around the United States, was able to complete funding in the Spring of 1992. They saw to it that this facility would be completely paid for by the beginning of construction and, established and funded the C.O.M Maintenance and Utility Trust for the perpetual support of C.O.M. Now called C.O.M Aquatics, Inc. with the addition of the C.O.M. Diving Team, C.O.M. Water Aerobics and C.O.M. Aquatic Wellness programs, C.O.M. opened the Abell Hanger Pool in the Spring of 1993. The new facility included a 25-yard by 25-yard competitive pool, full Olympic diving complement, bleachers, locker rooms and new offices. Initiation of the new facility came just one and a half years later when C.O.M. hosted the United States Swimming Junior National Championships and the nationally televised United States Diving National Championship.
C.O.M.’s growth continued into the 21st century with the addition of the Greathouse Aquatic and Rehabilitation Center, which included an expansion of the Doss multi-purpose room and two new 25-yard pools for the purpose of adult fitness through water aerobics, water wellness or water therapy. Following that expansion in 2000, C.O.M. added the dry-land therapy and fitness center just off of the Greathouse Center. These two major expansions were made possible by amazing support from the community and, once more through the amazing leadership and vision of Charles Koch.
The Next Step
In 2008, due to continued growth in all programs, C.O.M. began to work on its next expansion. This expansion was designed to be the final expansion of the physical facility at C.O.M., as the facility has become landlocked and because this final expansion would include an indoor 50-meter by 25-yard competitive pool, a dream of C.O.M. for 40 years. Fundraising by BJ Beal and Joe de Compiegne and the Building Committee headed by Kevin Allen in the years 2012 through 2014 have put C.O.M. in position to complete the new facility in 2015. This new facility will also include C.O.M.’s seventh pool, an indoor 25-yard multipurpose pool adjacent to the new Olympic-sized pool.
In 2013, the C.O.M. Board of Directors hired its most recent head coach, Bob Kizer. Coach Kizer came to C.O.M. from the New Trier Swim Team where his team won the USA Junior Nationals in 2012. He is currently on the USA Swimming Junior coaching pool and a member of the Safe Sport Committee.
Original Board of Directors
- Nash Dowdle
- Dr. Richard Norton
- Jim Rasmussen
- John Tyler
- Mac MacCurdy
- R.M. Chatham Jr.
- Hal Freedman
- Warren Fowler
- Nick Carter
- Larry Hart
Head Swim Coaches
- Don Foglesong
- Terry Gathercole
- George French
- Doug Ingram
- Steve Montgomery
- Gary Illman
- John Jordan
- Hank O’Neil
- Paul Bridgers
- Brad Swendig
- Ted Carson
- Andrew Korda
- Bob Kizer
- Jenna Purkey
Head Diving Coaches
- Jennifer Mangum
- Warren Maxwell
- Greg Triefenbach
- John Proctor
- Gabriel Chereches
- Texas vs. Mexico Dual Meet - 1969
- Texas Age Group Swimming Championships - 1972
- United States Swimming Junior National Championships - 1995
- United States Diving National Championships - 1995
- United States Diving Masters National Championship - 1997
- Texas Age Group Swimming Championships - 1999
- United States Diving US Open - 2005
- United States Swimming Southern Zones - 2018
- Matt Seay; 100 Breaststroke – United States Swimming Junior Nationals
- Doug Dickinson; 50 Freestyle – United States Swimming Junior Nationals
- Erin Savas; 10-Meter Tower – United States Diving US Open
- Anna James; 10-Meter Tower – Synchronized, United States Nationals
- Terrin Gilliland; 10-Meter Tower – Synchronized, Spring Nationals 2016
- Haley Allen - World University Games Bronze Medal (Synchro) (Only US Medal) (2015)
- Youngest Finalist – Terrin Gilliland – 2016 Olympic Trials – 10-Meter Diving
- Youngest Finalist – Anna James – 2012 Olympic Trials – 10-Meter Diving
- Named one of three national “Centers of Excellence” by USA Diving
- John Proctor – COM Diving Coach 2007 to 2015 - Named to the 2016 United States Olympic Diving Staff
- 50-meter by 25-yard, 10-lane competition pool – seating for 1,000
- 25-yard by 25-yard diving pool with 5-, 7.5-, and 10-meter platforms, four 3-meter boards and four 1-meter boards – seating for 1,000
- 25-yard, eight-lane practice and warm up pool
- 12-yard Learn-to-Swim Pool
- 25-yard, four-lane aerobics pool
- 25-yard four-lane therapy pool
- 25-yard leisure pool with two-foot, three-foot and four-foot depths for various activities
- Full gym and therapy center staffed with more than 11,000 patient visits per year
- Diving gym with platform; three dry boards and two trampolines