The History of RSA


The Raleigh Swimming Association (RSA) has a rich history of team spirit, achievement, parent activism, community service and friendship that have made RSA the premiere year-round team in the Triangle for over 50 years.

In 1960, representatives of area country clubs established RSA as a summer swim team. Shortly thereafter, RSA affiliated with the YMCA and became a year-round program, but maintained a separate parent Board. A year later, RSA dropped its association with the “Y” in order to maintain its autonomy. The first head coach was Bill Sonner, Director of Physical Education at NCSU, who was assisted by Willis Casey and Dick Fadgen, of the NCSU athletic staff. 

Two sponsors initially financed RSA: North Carolina Equipment Company, and A. E. Finley Associates. An appeal was also made to Raleigh citizens to support the association by buying a $10-$25 membership. This community support allowed for yearly dues of only 25 cents per child, plus an additional 50 cents for AAU fees. 

The team’s first practices were held at the Hayes-Barton pool (the old Pullen Park pool) and Peace College. RSA swam in the “bubbled” Candler Swim Club from 1972 until the bubble deteriorated beyond repair in 1982 and they were forced to move practice to the Garner Road YMCA and Optimist Club Pool. During the summer practices were held at various neighborhood pools including Scottish Hills and the Triangle Swim Club. 

In 1987, in response to increased costs and constantly dwindling pool time, the RSA Board and its membership took control of their own destiny by purchasing a new bubble for use at the Candler Swim Club. On December 6th, 1987 the bubble went up and Candler Swim Club became the indoor season home of RSA for the next 20 years. 

On April 1, 2001, RSA formed a competitive alliance with Ravens Aquatics Club of Raleigh (RACR), also known as RSA North during this period. This alliance was dissolved in 2005 so each team could grow their teams under their own visions. 

In September of 2005 RSA leased space at North Raleigh Christian Academy. The hope of this action was to grow the RSA program in the Northern reaches of the county. While RSA, the athletes, and the membership were supportive of this effort, the cost of maintaining this action was overridden by the cost of not enough membership to self-support the site and RSA could not afford to fund the monetary loss. With much regret, RSA stopped leasing space at NRCA a short year later 

In October of 2007 RSA moved out of the bubbled Candler Swim Club and into the new state-of-the-art Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC).  TAC became RSA’s home for the next 5 years. In spring 2013, once again due to dwindling pool time, RSA diversified its pool space and began having some practice groups at NC State University in the pool named after one of RSA’s first coaches, Willis Casey.

RSA’s commitment to excellence is evident from the achievements of its swimmers both in and out of the pool. RSA consistently produces nationally ranked athletes across all age groups including Junior and Senior National Teams and Olympic Trial Qualifiers. Athletes also achieve high GPAs and rank as Academic All Americans and obtain scholastic and athletic scholarships to some of the most recognized and respected universities across the country. 

RSA’s success has been driven by the efforts of our many fine past coaches: Bill Sonner, John Calvert, Mike Weeks, John White, Kay Bowman, Woody Caudle, Rick Kobe, Buddy Bowman, Bruce Griffen, Greg Sanchez, Paul Silver, Jozsef Nagy, Dan Flack, and Kit Raulerson.

In April 2013, Brent St. Pierre joined RSA as the Head Coach.  Coach Brent, a former RSA swimmer himself, continues the RSA commitment to excellence. 

Through cooperation between parents, coaches, and athletes, RSA has been able to consistently achieve our mission to provide a healthy and safe environment that fosters athletic excellence, positive self-esteem, teamwork, and self-discipline while providing experiences that enable athletes to acquire a foundation of skills for lifelong achievement.  The RSA parents, coaches, and athletes look forward to this tradition continuing for another 50 years! 


First Practice June, 1960
Hayes Barton Pool

1983 RSA Donates $450
to Life Experiences

"First in the Nation" 1986 
William Keever, Mike Schroeder,
John Fischetti and Tim Watson
15-16 Men's 400 M Free Relay- 4:06.36. 

RSA History
Parent Volunteers Installing the Candler Bubble

RSA History

RSA History
Team Spirit