SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send [email protected]
This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Jordan Metz, a distance swimmer for Northern State University.
It’s so dark outside that the birds outside my window have yet to start chirping “Good morning”. The only sound that is going off is my alarm clock at 5:40 in the morning. I lay in my bed and contemplate whether to actually get up or not, I eventually do because I have to swim as well as coach. Not that I mind one bit, I’m just really tired.
I leave my house with my dad at around 6:00 and since the pool is just down the street it only takes three minutes to get there. We walk to the pool together and unlock everything and turn on the lights that take forever to turn on. I grab the white board and start writing the warm-up and the first set.
I usually only have two or three swimmers show up for morning practice and they show up anywhere between 6:25 and 6:30 when practice starts. We swim for the next two hours, my dad being the one to watch strokes since I’m in the water with the swimmers trying to get ready for my last swim season ever. My dad and I made a deal at the beginning of the summer, he would come to practice in the morning if I swam and wrote the workouts.
We get out of the water at 8:30 and sometimes we have to wait for parents to come pick up their swimmer. I usually say something along the lines of, “We’ll wait. We have nothing else to do all day.” Even though my dad usually has something for us to do when we get back home.
Anywhere between 9:30 and 10:00 my mom gives me a call and asks if I can deliver lunches to some people who need them, sort of a Meals on Wheels program that she helps run through her work. I love doing that because 1) it gets me out of my house when I actually have nothing to do and 2) I get to help people in my community. I think that has been one of my favorite things to do this summer besides coaching.
At 4:45 in the afternoon I start to gather my things for afternoon practice. This is the practice I just get to be coach, which I love. My sister is the head coach and I’m just helping with the high schoolers and a small swim lessons program that goes through our club. We get to the pool just before 5:00 and I start writing the workout on the white board for the second time that day. I try to mix up what I write for practices but sometimes it feels like I have writer’s block when it comes to these things. I try not to repeat myself when writing thinking that we’ve already done this or that and so I always try to keep the high schoolers on their toes.
5:30 rolls around I have to tell the high schoolers what I want them to do for the next thirty minutes while I work with my lessons kid. This session of our swim lessons I only have one, but he has improved so much throughout this summer. The only thing that he likes to do is move his arms incredibly slow, so I started comparing his arm movements to things that are fast and slow. If he’s moving his arms too slow I usually say he has turtle arms and if I want his arms to move faster I usually compare them to Flash, the superhero, because he likes superheroes. I like to quiz him to, so that I know he knows what he should be doing for his strokes. I ask him what we need to have for a good freestyle or a good backstroke. We’re currently still just working on breaststroke kick which he likes to call a frog kick.
6:00 comes and I say goodbye to my lessons kiddo and go back to the high schoolers who are usually on the first set I gave them after warm-up. I ask where they’re at and then keep a close eye on them after that, correcting strokes when need be and then giving them their main set which usually earns me a few groans and wide eyes at some of the fast times I put up on the board.
7:00 is here before I know it and the swimmers are gone and it’s time to go home and finally have some dinner and go to bed only to get up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Swimming and coaching like this has been such an amazing experience especially since I’m starting my last year of college within the next month. The kids that I coached this summer have shown me ways to think differently and write workouts for them that is beneficial for all. They could complain about a lot of the things I write for them but all I get is the casual eye roll (which I make sure to point out) and we laugh together. These kids have brought me knowledge about swimming and I hope that I passed some of my knowledge to them as well.
About Jordan Metz
Originally from Emporia, Kansas. Moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota, to swim distance for Northern State University. Started swimming at age 8 and has never stopped. Aspiring swim coach in the making. Believes in God, that everyone has a purpose in life, and that every kid deserves the chance to swim