While meets are largely on hold worldwide right now due to the effects of COVID-19, and many teams are just getting back to practices, we still want to highlight and celebrate swim teams from around the country. This week’s Team of the Week is Saddleback El Toro (SET) Swimming of Lake Forest, California, a year-round USA club swimming team of roughly 225 members that trains out of El Toro High School.
Head coach Tim Teeter has been been with SET since 2015, and has roughly two decades of coaching experience across the club, high school, and college levels. “I came to SET in 2015 and the club was about 30 swimmers. With the help of JC Guzman, Barrett Tester and T Sorenson, we have been able to build a club of almost 225. (Pre-Covid). We are hopeful that as we are able to get back to full time training that with our deep rooted philosophy and strong coaches we will be able to again rise like the phoenix,” Teeter told us.
Teeter elaborated a little more on the philosophy that he and the rest of the coaching staff bring to SET.
Find something you love and then work as hard as you can at it. Whether it is playing the piano, acting, baseball, swimming. . . it doesn’t matter and you need to help swimmers try to find that something they love. Because all of us that swam know that it is a grind and anything that you want to be great at will be a grind. The grind becomes tolerable when you love what you are doing.
Teeter attributes SET’s strong chemistry to the team’s strong family atmosphere.
You use the word “team”, I would like to say that SET is more of a “family.” A team merely works toward a common goal. A family is there for the good, the bad, the happy, the sad. SET Swim Team is more than just about swimming. It is how we can help one another beyond the pool. It is not the right chemistry for every swimmer or family, but for those that buy into the family mentality it is a place they always can come home to and pass along to others as a truly special place.
We asked Teeter to describe what his swimmers might consider to be SET’s iconic set.
A set we call the UOP Set. It is from my time coaching at the University of the Pacific. The set is 16 x 50 @ 2:00 off the blocks. #1 – 12 1/2 sprint/37 1/2 ez. #2 25 sprint/25 ez. #3 37 1/2 sprint/12 1/2 ez. #4 All out. I like it when we can drop the pads in and have the all out 50’s on the scoreboard.
Teeter also spoke with us about his biggest struggle as a coach, and he touched on a theme that is common in coaching circles: the balance between work and family.
My biggest struggle as a coach has been trying to find a balance with my own family. I am lucky to have a wife that understands the demands of coaching and a team that is understanding of the importance of my family. I haven’t always coached teams that understood that my family should not suffer in order for the swim team to be successful. The SET Family fully recognizes and supports me missing a workout or a meet to see my son play baseball or my daughter perform in a musical. This type of support from the SET Swim Team family is greatly appreciated and definitely has lacked in previous jobs. It took me years to understand that working for a team that doesn’t support your personal relationships with your own family is no place to coach.
With over 20 years on deck, Teeter has plenty of great coaching memories, but he highlighted one from early in his career as on that still sticks out to him to this day.
In 1999-2002 I was able to coach in my hometown of Charles City, Iowa. (Population 7,000). It was my first coaching job and I was able to give back to the community I grew up in. We had 2 state champions and finished 7th as a team in 2001 (There are no classes in Iowa Swimming and we were one of the smallest schools in the state to offer swimming). The girls I coached on those teams remind me of where I came from and the pride I have in my hometown. They were not the most talented kids that I have every coached, but the kids on those 3 teams worked as hard as any kid that I have ever coached. Each of those kids remind me to this day that great swimmers can come from anywhere. A small town or a large club. All they need is an opportunity and the help of someone with a little bit of knowledge.
SET Swimming 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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