Mark Walker founded and incorporated StonesRiver Aquatic Racers, Inc. (“STAR”) in 1983 with just 18 swimmers from Ravenwood Country Club. The team practiced at the Tennessee School for the Blind's indoor pool and joined United States Swimming (soon to become USA Swimming) and Southeastern Swimming.
The new team immediately participated in USS events in the following months, including hosting a USS sponsored Swim-a-thon, participating in USS Distance Day, and attending meets on a regular basis. STAR held its first USS sponsored meet on June 16, 1984.
By September 1985, STAR had grown to 53 swimmers. They moved their practice location to Whites Creek High School and hired their first Assistant Coach, Melanie Botchholder. In December of that year, STAR finished fourth at the Southeastern Swimming Meet of Champions and won the prestigious team spirit award at the meet. In 1986, the team had its first Junior National Qualifier and swimmer ranked in the top 16 in the nation.
In July 1987, Brentwood Elite Swim Team (“BEST”) merged with STAR and they agreed to form EXCEL AQUATICS. Both teams kept their existing team structure but practiced and competed together. BEST Head Coach Buzz Watson and STAR Head Coach Mark Walker led the Excel Aquatics training programs.
In 1991, STAR’S partnership with BEST dissolved. In 1992 STAR amended its charter to change its name to EXCEL AQUATICS, INC.
In 1993, Excel contracted with Gallatin City Parks and Recreation to be the host club at Gallatin’s new Civic Center. The team opened another training site at Vanderbilt University. From 1993 to 1998, Excel Aquatics maintained approximately 125 swimmers. In 1999 Williamson County Aquatic Team merged with Excel Aquatics and the team grew to 365 swimmers training at five different facilities.
In late 2000, a Summer Olympic year, Excel swimmer Andrew Davidson won the 200 backstroke at Junior Nationals, setting a new Junior Nationals record and qualifying for the 2000 Olympic trials. Two Excel swimmers, Shawn Phillips and Andrew Davidson, competed in the 2000 Olympic trials.
In late 2000, Excel won its first Long Course Southeastern Championships. In 2001, the Williamson County Indoor Sports Complex opened with a 50 meter X 25 yard indoor pool and separate warm down pool. Excel Aquatics became its host team and was able to continue growing and hosting a variety of meets.