Apollo Beach Racquet & Fitness Club expands its swim program

By LISA STARK

Team Velocity swimmers, from left: Alexa Rivera, Maya Smith, Alexis Patterson and Hannah Selke. Lisa Stark photos.

Team Velocity swimmers, from left: Alexa Rivera, Maya Smith, Alexis Patterson and Hannah Selke. Team Velocity Swimming is based out of the Cheval Athletic Club in Lutz under head coach Gary Lee Goodner. Don LaMont is the Site Coach for Team Velocity’s satellite program hosted at Apollo Beach Racquet and Fitness Club. Lisa Stark photos.

The Apollo Beach Racquet & Fitness Club has been ramping up its swim program with some top-notch coaching staff and talented swimmers from all around the South Shore area.

“In the past four months, we’ve gone from 20 seasonal swimmers to 60 year-round swimmers, and we’re still growing,” said swim coach Tyler Sultenfuss, whose family members are the original founders of the Apollo Beach club.

Tyler credits site coach Don Lamont from Valrico as much of the reason for the recent resurgence of their swim team. “Don is the best in the business,” said Tyler. “He has had a lifelong career as a swim coach and has led a number of swimmers to the Olympics.”

LaMont himself admits to having a “pure love for swimming.” His resumé reads like an epic novel, spanning more than 50 years of involvement in the sport, from teaching at the University of Southern California, to serving as head coach for the Desert Storm Swim Club in Las Vegas, to more recently coaching at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, with which he is still affiliated.

LaMont has a long list of accomplishments and honors, including being inducted into the American Swim Coaches Hall of Fame, the Los Angeles County Hall of Fame, and serving as USA Team Coach in New Zealand, Italy, France, Russia, West Germany and Japan. He has coached seven Olympians to gold and silver medals.

The Coaching staff at Apollo Beach Racquet & Fitness Club, from left: Tyler Sultenfuss, Don LaMont and Logan Sultenfuss.

The Coaching staff at Apollo Beach Racquet & Fitness Club, from left: Tyler Sultenfuss, Don LaMont and Logan Sultenfuss.

“We’re like family here,” said Logan Sultenfuss, who, along with brother Tyler, has teamed up with LaMont to expand the  already active swim program. “[The Apollo Beach Racquet & Fitness Club] has been around for 25 years, and our mother (Mary Beth Sultenfuss) has been teaching swim lessons for over 40 years. People in Apollo Beach know we are a family who has long been dedicated to swimming.”

The ABRFC aquatics program offers 45-minute swim lessons to students of all levels and abilities, in their 25-yard junior Olympic pool that will now be heated year-round.

“We have a 1-to-5 teacher to student ratio, and we teach everyone from the age of 18 months to senior citizens,” said Tyler. “We can help even the most fearful swimmers learn the proper techniques in the pool.”

For more advanced swimmers, the trio teaches competitive swim strokes focusing on proper technique for speed and efficiency. Students learn freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breast stroke, which gives them a solid foundation for competitive swimming. In January, ABRFC partnered with Team Velocity, a USA Swimming-sanctioned team based at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Club. Now with two facilities at its fingertips, Team Velocity has gained steam and commitment to the sport.

Mary Beth Sultenfuss, owner of Apollo Beach Racquet and Fitness Club, believes in making its swim program grow with students from childhood all the way through the competitive high school levels. She is a longtime proponent of water safety, and has even written a book titled Waterwise, a comprehensive guide to teaching swimming and water safety to children, from babies on up.

Swimmers have fun while learning valuable skills in the junior Olympic pool.

Swimmers have fun while learning valuable skills in the junior Olympic pool.

“We’ve been teaching swimming since we were big enough to stand in the shallow end of the pool,” said brothers Tyler and Logan.

“Tyler was on his high school team, and I’ve always been involved in a lot of watersports, including scuba diving,” said Logan.

The brothers also take pride in their family-owned club, which offers so much more than swimming.

“This is a place to come to share not just athletics, but business and social contacts, or to have a nice dinner or lunch with friends.” said Tyler.

Apollo’s Bistro, located at the club, offers a casual upscale environment for dinner, a glass of wine or cocktail.

The Apollo Beach Racquet & Fitness Club is at 6520 Richies Way in Apollo Beach. For more information, call 813-641-1922.

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