Raleigh's Ruiz a rookie at USA swimming trials at age 32 :: WRALSportsFan.com

Raleigh’s Ruiz a rookie at USA swimming trials at age 32 :: WRALSportsFan.com

— New Wave Swim Team is making a splash at the Olympic Trials as they compete this week in Indianapolis for a chance to make it to Paris. The Raleigh-based club team brought four swimmers to the Trials: brothers Sam and Matt Marsteiner, James Bennison and Kim Ruiz, the oldest first-time Olympic Trials swimmer in the country.

Under the leadership of Head Coach John Roy, the club has sharpened its focus in the past few years. “It was a fun atmosphere, but I wanted a more competitive focus on trying to make the Olympic Trials or a national team,” Roy remarked.

And with the efforts of the four swimmers in Indianapolis, it is clear that Roy’s wishes are coming true.

The program focuses on improving speed, being technically correct and helping swimmers fall in love with the sport. Children as young as age five may join the club after completing an unassisted lap. While the club makes sure competitive swimmers get the training they need, there is a spot for anyone interested.

“No one sits on the bench,” Roy said. “There’s a level for everyone.”

While brothers Sam and Matt Marsteiner participate in a more rigorous training program under the leadership of Coach Zach Murray, spending just under 20 hours in the pool weekly, not all club members seek competition at the highest level.

But Roy constantly looks to challenge those that do. Take James Bennison for example. The recent high school graduate looks forward to pushing himself to be his best.

“James is just absolutely, truly a competitor. He can turn it on and really go,” Roy explained.

The culture of New Wave Swim Team is to challenge athletes, sometimes even to the point of failure, in order to make them better.

Bennison states, “I love my coach and my teammates. They push me every day to become a better person and a better swimmer.”

While Bennison and the Marsteiner brothers have had a more linear path in the swimming world, New Wave Swim Team is open to all, and Kim Ruiz just happens to be one of the non-traditional swimmers.

Ruiz ended her swimming career 12 years ago after competing on the collegiate level at Gardner-Webb. Or so she thought.

The 32-year-old continued to stay active and found herself enthralled in the world of CrossFit. A hip injury sidelined her and her physical therapist recommended she try hopping in the pool once more.

New Wave Swim Club was the first team to respond and welcome Ruiz into the Masters program. Laura Goodman, Ruiz’s coach, helped Ruiz get readjusted to the sport: “New Wave was so accommodating and able to support me getting those swims in and those races, because it had been a while,” Ruiz explained.

Ruiz didn’t have her eyes set on making it to the Olympic Trials when she joined the club, but after a state record performance for her age group in a “Fun-vitational,” she realized she could be a real competitor. With the encouragement of Goodman, Ruiz became the oldest first-time Olympic Trials swimmer in the USA.

“Trials cut is always the big shiny goal, but I had never gotten close enough to grab it when I was younger,” Ruiz remarked. But now, after qualifying for the Swim Trials, she finally had. “I’m not sure if I truly believed I could get it until I saw the number on the board.”

While Ruiz’s time in Indianapolis will end her 2024 Olympic journey, her next goal is breaking the world record for her age group in the 100-meter breaststroke.

In Indianapolis and beyond, New Wave Swim Club produces competitors ready for the highest stage.

“Every four years, swimming is so huge,” Roy stated. “I wish it was like this more often, but we’ll take what we can get.”

Source: wralsportsfan.com