How Coaching Swimming Changed My Perspective on the Sport

by SwimSwam 1

February 06th, 2015 College, NCAA Division III, Opinion

Courtesy of Alex Vutech, SwimSwam Intern. Follow: @AlexandraVutech

Ever since I can remember, I have been attracted to the water. I started competing in summer league at the age of five and swam club throughout my childhood and high school. Now, sixteen years later, I am swimming at the collegiate level. Throughout my years in the pool I have been exposed to various coaches, programs and experiences that have all enhanced and contributed to my successes as a swimmer. After an 18 month hiatus from the sport, I recently returned to the pool when I transferred to Simmons College in the fall of 2013. As any swimmer knows, the transition from being out of the water to being back in the water can be extremely difficult. However, after an amazing first season, I had made a great connection with my coaches and teammates and was beyond excited for my future seasons as a Simmons Shark.

In the spring of 2014, I was offered the position of Head Coach for the Woodstock Swim Team in my hometown of Woodstock, Vermont. Naturally, I was nervous due to my lack of experience of being on the pool deck as a coach, but I was thrilled to be back with the program that I had started with. Little did I know that accepting this role would be a life-changing experience and provide me with a new perspective on the sport of swimming. The season was only the duration of six weeks; Mid June to early August. Throughout that short time frame, I found myself happier than I have ever been before.

At times, it is easy to forget why I swim and I question why I put myself through months of endless training. Working with the swimmers of Woodstock Swim Team, who were excited and happy simply because they were swimming at all, reminded me of why I am still swimming all these years later and why I continue to love this sport. In addition, being able to witness their hard work and all of their successes first-hand was the most rewarding work that I have ever done. I have learned so much about the administration of the sport and all the moving parts that it is composed of. As a result, I appreciate my coaches, teammates and experiences much more. Most importantly, I learned that swimming isn’t just something that I do, but rather it is a huge part of who I am and will forever guide me in discovering who I want to be. I love it more than I ever thought I could, and I know that swimming will ultimately be a part of my life regardless of where I am or what I am doing.

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Great post. As a club swimmer/ turned college athlete/ turned club and high school coach for my alma mater I couldn’t agree more. With all the hours put in for a couple swims months down the road it’s easy to get down on yourself. Coaching has completely changed the way I see the sport and has really gotten me reinvested and reinvigorated. Swimming has been my life and now my profession is to help guide others to be better people and athletes. It’s helped me learn a lot about myself too.