Swimming news courtesy of SPIRE, a SwimSwam partner.
Thinking back on his successful coaching career, Thad Schultz, Director of Aquatics at SPIRE Institute and Academy (IA) has a few words of advice to offer to swimmers of all ages and abilities. “For the youngest swimmers, you need two objectives: learn every day, and have fun every day. For high school athletes, remember that being great isn’t a part-time job. It’s a lifestyle.”
Schultz joined SPIRE’s swim program in 2015. He has been coaching for more than 25 years, working with 18 NCAA All-Americans, dozens of state champions, and over 20 Olympic swimmers, six of whom he trained at SPIRE.
Thad brings with him a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from West Virginia University and a Master in Education & Counseling from Clemson University, along with his own rich background of swimming for the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team. Having coached at several universities prior to SPIRE, Thad loves his career. “It’s about sharing in the athletes’ success. It’s setting goals, working hard, and watching their reactions when they succeed. For me, those reactions are the payoff.”
Thad enjoys coaching at SPIRE for many reasons, including what he calls, “the global experience.” He explains, “As a boarding school in the USA, we have a constant influx of kids and aspiring athletes from all over the world. I really enjoy working with so many people from so many different backgrounds.”
For Thad, SPIRE’s swimming facilities are fantastic resources for his students. “The pools are deep and designed to be fast,” he says. “The comp pool can be configured in a 50-meter course, or a 25-yard course. It gives us a lot of options for long course and short course events.” Thad adds, “There is a lot of deck space, too, which allows me to bring the students out of the water for more physical training.” SPIRE hosts many national swimming championship events, like the 2021 Big East and Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships.
Thad explains that his approach to training is to make it fun and engaging for athletes. “When I was swimming,” he says, “it was high volume training. It was boring.” Thad believes that adding variety and mixing up student training sessions is important for keeping athletes motivated. “We have a huge selection of training equipment at SPIRE,” says Thad. “I like to rotate laps with exercise equipment, like stationary bikes and medicine balls, to keep it fun.”
He goes on to explain, “Swimming is a solitary activity and students can get discouraged by the lack of human interaction. My training techniques encourage interactions between students, bringing them out of the water and onto the deck so they aren’t just looking at the black line at the bottom of the pool.”
Schultz understands that elite athletes have the greatest challenges of all, not only in training for their sport but also in their day-to-day lives. He explains, “Elite athletes may find themselves stuck in a rut. For those athletes, I have two questions: How are you challenging yourself every day? What are you doing to move forward?”
Over the course of Thad’s coaching career, he has developed a variety of swim camps, but SPIRE’s swim camps stand out to him. “Camps are a great opportunity for athletes to look at the sport through a different lens. I’ve seen our swimmers make great improvements after just a week at a SPIRE swim camp.” SPIRE’s camps focus on the technological aspects of the sport such as refining the four competitive strokes, transitions, finishes, speed and efficiency. The camps at SPIRE include SPIRE Performance Training to develop flexibility, core strength and power.
Thad currently resides in Ohio, with his dog Sargent. The two go on mystery-solving adventures when Thad isn’t at the athletic academy’s pool.
For more information on SPIRE Academy swimming programs, contact Director of Admissions Brian Oliver, [email protected] or visit the website www.spireinstitute.org/academy to download the Admissions Guide.
Swimming news is courtesy of SPIRE, a SwimSwam partner.