NOVA’s mission is to develop excellence in swimmers of all ages and abilities by challenging and motivating them, in a safe and inclusive environment, to reach their full potential in swimming and in life.
Since 1987, NOVA has provided top-notch swim training for our community’s youth. What started as a small 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization to address the need for a structured, year-round swimming program has evolved into a national powerhouse. Instilling the values of discipline, leadership, goal setting, teamwork, and social responsibility have been fundamental to NOVA’s success, helping to create great kids as well as great swimmers. NOVA continues to be a leader in promoting water safety, healthy lifestyles, and the life-long sport of swimming through superb programming, coaching and community engagement.
The organization was aptly named for the star that suddenly releases a huge burst of energy and becomes extraordinarily bright. NOVA indeed has exploded into a vibrant community resource and shining example of excellence in swim instruction. Today NOVA has an impressive resume of student athletes at the local, national, and global levels. NOVA’s competitive youth swim team, with 800 swimmers ages 6 to 18, is rated the #1 club by Virginia Swimming. NOVA consistently ranks as a Top-Ten organization by USA Swimming and is known nationwide for its swimmers’ tremendous talent and accomplishments, as well as for its caring, professional coaching group.
Alongside its trademark competitive swimming program, NOVA is also committed to equipping children in the surrounding community with the important life skill of swimming. At its inception, NOVA began offering swim lessons to meet the community’s need for an affordable learn-to-swim program. Over time, program offerings have expanded to include clinics, high school prep and varsity team practice and meets for non-year-round swimmers, adult lap swimming (NOVAFit), and adult competitive swimming (Masters). Each year 1,500+ children in the community participate in NOVA swim lessons. This means tens of thousands of children have benefited from lessons at NOVA over the years, including those who are underserved or with special needs.
NOVA was founded in 1987 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to provide high-quality aquatics programming to youth in the Richmond Metro area. Geoff Brown founded the club and served as Head Coach through 2020. In its first year of existence, a largely age-group team won the State Championship. NOVA was a composite team composed of three branches located at Woodlake, Burkwood, and the University of Richmond (U of R). The composite team remained united for several highly successful seasons, then broke apart as each wing decided to embark on a new direction.
While the old NOVA ceased to exist, the name endured and was inherited by the U of R branch of the program. The new NOVA program prospered and grew despite losing access to all evening time at the university. A three-year move across town to the North Richmond YMCA culminated in the 1996 construction of the NOVA Aquatics Center-Gayton Road, featuring a 10- lane, 25-yard swimming pool in Richmond’s Far West End. This project was spearheaded by Geoff Brown and a committed group of NOVA parents. The NOVA competitive team grew from 90 to 400 swimmers, and in 2005 a second 10-lane, 25-yard pool was constructed at the Gayton location.
In the 1990s, NOVA expanded its offerings to include a progressive learn-to-swim program for youth and launched the Virginia Swim Shop to supply swimsuits and equipment for its team. The competitive team continued to grow at every age level and became nationally recognized as a Top-10 club by USA Swimming, winning state and national titles. NOVA swimmers have competed at numerous Olympic Trials, and in 2016 Townley Haas won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay. NOVA swimmers have represented the United States in Junior National and world swimming events. In 2019 Charlie Swanson won the Gold Medal in the 400-meter individual medley for the U.S. at the Pan American Games.
In 2019 founder Geoff Brown hand selected Norm Wright to be the team’s next Head Coach and in September 2021, NOVA opened its second Aquatics Center. The new facility features an 8-lane, 50-meter pool and two 25-yard warm water pools. Located at the Regency Mall, this facility is an impactful community asset because of its program offerings to serve area youth and adult residents. The added NOVA pool capacity supports Henrico County varsity high school swimming and the second-grade lessons program. Adults enjoy NOVAFit fitness lap swimming seven days per week. Both facilities are available for swim meets and special events.