While swimming around the world still looks a lot different than normal due to the effects of COVID-19, we’re still highlighting and celebrating swim teams from across the country. This month, we’re taking a closer at Rose Bowl Aquatics, a USA Swimming silver medal level club that serves the Southern California area, and over the years has produced national age group record holders and a bevy of college swimmers.
Earlier this month, Rose Bowl alumnus Trenton Julian won a pair of gold medals at the FINA Short Course World Championships. Julian, who currently swims collegiately for the Cal Bears, won his golds as part of the USA’s 4×200 teams and 4×50 medley relay teams. He also earned a silver medal as part of the 4×100 medley relay team.
Rose Bowl’s head coach is Trenton’s dad, and former USA national teamer, Jeff Julian. We spoke spoke with Julian to get a sense of what makes this team special, as well as some of his thoughts on caching in general.
If there’s that one thing that’s clear when talking with Julian, it’s the important of swimming as a “team.” Julian describes his coaching philosophy simply as “TEAM led, process oriented, and driven by growth.”
That emphasis on team permeates all that Rose Bowl Aquatics does and is the key ingredient in the team chemistry.
In the end it’s the people that make the TEAM chemistry special. In hopes of creating the best environment possible, TEAM is always at the forefront of what we do. It has to be a priority and you have to remind them that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. That’s what is special about being a part of a TEAM, and even more important in a sport where too many people believe it to be an individual sport.
Naturally, that focus on the team dynamic means that Rose Bowl swimmers develop the skills necessary to lead in and out of the pool.
I think a lot of that comes from the way we lead the TEAM. When you focus on TEAM, you focus outside of yourself. Being a leader isn’t about what title you may have or not. Being a leader is about caring about those around you and helping them to become the best they can be. By that definition, I think it’s impossible to be a great TEAMmate and not be a great leader. Individuals then find how they lead best from that foundation as they find their voices and confidence.
Coaching can be a tough profession, but for Julian, the struggles come more from the personal side of the profession than the technical side.
That’s an interesting question actually and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. I’m guessing the idea would be around the coaching aspect but I just don’t see struggles there. I really enjoy leading these swimmers through a process to chase something they would otherwise never think possible. Showing them a process that they can take into anything in life that they do next and teaching them life lessons as the main goal. So honestly my struggles come more from how this career and the expectations on a coach. Only two Sunday’s off is a regular month for most and that’s just not a healthy or sustainable lifestyle. I have any number of thoughts as to what contributes to that, but in the end, my biggest struggle is the expectation, even if most of that comes from my own internal expectation of what I’ve been taught is required.
Julian’s been on deck for years, both at Rose Bowl Aquatics and also as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Southern California. When we asked him about his favorite coaching memory, he chose to focus on a recent one.
Favorite is always tough, as there are different meanings behind each, but let’s take a very recent one, West Winter Jrs. The TEAM effort there was extraordinary. The girls made a phenomenal jump in level in just one year, going from their top relay of 42nd, to scoring in every single relay, and finishing 6th in my personal favorite, the 800 Free Relay. Then on the Boys side they battled down to the last relay, to win the relay, and win the meet by 1/2 a point. This was a process in the making over 2-3 years now, starting with Coach Kristine, and to see them all race like that as a TEAM was an incredible feeling.
Rose Bowl Aquatics is one of 3,000 swim clubs in the United States. How can we grow that number and promote the sport?
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