Coach’s Corner

The Life of a Swim Coach

I started my coaching career with the Gators about 4 years ago. I swam competitively for 12 years of my life, and when my swimming career ended due to a shoulder surgery, I thought I had hung up my cap and goggles for good. I never dreamed after 12 years away from the sport, that I would return in a capacity that has been rewarding for both me and the swimmers I coach. This team has become my family.

I’ve learned that the role of a swim coach goes way beyond coaching. Not only am I there to provide technical and training skills, but I’ve also become a mentor, motivator, counselor, and friend to my swimmers. As a swim coach, my goal is to assist athletes in developing to their full potential. I am responsible for both training the swimmers in and out of the water by providing skill based and social instruction. I am there to congratulate them when they do well, and to offer guidance and words of encouragement when they don’t.

I realize I sometimes spend more time after school with these kids than their parents do. I need to provide a safe, fun, and enjoyable environment for all my swimmers, and I sure hope that’s something they feel I have accomplished! I need to create the right conditions for learning to occur, while also finding new ways to motivate my swimmers to be their best. Many swimmers are inherently motivated and that motivation in something from within themselves. Other swimmers are externally motivated, and they need to be pushed through positivity and rewards. It is my job to help foster and maintain that motivation for swimming, while also generating excitement and enthusiasm that will carry on. These are just some of the life skills learned on the pool deck!

Swimming can definitely be a monotonous sport for training and practicing. The kids swim back and forth, up and down the pool, hundreds of times each day. Making it engaging day after day can be a challenge. The last thing I want is for them to get bored or burnt out. I do my best to always mix up the practices and training routines of the groups I coach. I like to keep my swimmers on their toes. Just when they think they’ve figured me out and can predict what I’m going to do—I mix it up on them. I believe part of being a great coach is knowing the different personalities of your athletes and being able to individually challenge them. Coaching is both rewarding and challenging at the same time. I love what I do, and I’m grateful to this team and all its swimmers and families.

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    Rebecca Soni
    Larsen Jensen
    Aaron Peirsol
    Gabe Woodward
    Derya Buyukuncu



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