The masters swim team at the Carson Valley Swim Center has gone through of an overhaul over the past several years.
They hired a coach, formalized a practice schedule and even changed their team name.
"We were the Manatees but we changed it to the Carson Valley Pirates," team member Claudia Bertolone-Smith said. "Pirates seemed a whole lot more menacing than fat sea cows."
Even with the vamped up name, the team is trying to make it known that new swimmers of any age or ability level are welcome to come to work out with them.
"We pretty much have all fitness levels out with us," coach Kat Matheson said. "Some people come just because it is their thing to do. We have several triathletes who work out with us in preparation for their next triathlon. And we have a few lifelong swimmers that come just because it's a great way to work out."
One of the biggest attractions, Matheson said, is that the team works out early in the morning so members can get in a full workout before heading off to work.
"There are quite a number of people that come in and out with us," Matheson said.
"It's pretty open-ended. You have to be able to swim a couple laps, but if you can do that, you'll have a great time."
The team practices on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 5:30 to 7 a.m. at the Carson Valley Swim Center. From April 1 to Oct. 1, they swim in the outdoor pool.
They move the workouts inside for the winter.
Cost is $30 every month plus admission to the pool.
"All people need to do is show up and try it for a little bit to see if it is a good fit for them," Bertolone-Smith said. "If you decide you want to do it consistently, then you start paying.
"It used to be very informal, but once Kat was hired, we formalized the process a little bit. She is a great coach and she can work with you whatever level you're at and tailor workouts to your goals. Some people just want to swim laps and she can help with that and others want to compete and she can help them get better.
"We don't want anyone to be intimidated to come out. It's a fun group of people and there is a lot of camaraderie."
Matheson described her coaching style as more of a technique approach rather than focusing on yardage.
"Adult swimmers, I check to make sure they're swimming so that they aren't going to injure their shoulders," Matheson said. "That's the point, is to get better at this without causing any injury to yourself."
Workouts have been drawing anywhere between four and 20 swimmers between the ages of 18 on up to 67.
As an added bonus, the team makes several trips to competitive meets during the year, for those who are interested.
"Our most popular meet is in Reno during December, but last year we went to Stanford for the world championships," Matheson said. "It was really neat.
Bertolone-Smith said she hoped more people in the Valley would take advantage of the club workouts.
"I'm not sure a lot of people even know we're here," she said. "A lot of people have heard about it and they think that it will be too hard or that you have to be able to swim at a certain speed.
"That's not the way it is. It's a great sport because you can get relatively good at it very quickly. It's good for your bones and your muscles, it's not weight-bearing. It's just good exercise."
The team is also hoping to start up evening workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from about 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., which would suit triathletes, fitness swimmers or people hoping to build up to masters swimming.
Anyone interested in the team or the possible evening workouts can contact Claudia Bertolone-Smith at 782-3244.