The Viking tends to travel a lot. When I hit the road, I sometimes try to leave a little earlier than needed, hoping I can sneak into a workout somewhere with friends along the way. As a masters athlete, it is always nice to work out with a group rather than alone, but as a coach who is also involved in LSC governance, I like to take the time to chat with coaches, learn about how they organize and run their teams, and of course steal all of their secrets.
Last Friday I barged my way into a practice with the Northwest Arkansas Sharks in Bentonville, Arkansas. NWAA is coached by Marcel Da Ponte, who moved in a few years ago from a coaching job in Arizona and had previously coached at Pretoria Aquatic Club in South Africa. Under his tenure the club has moved up from zero to Level 3 Club Recognition and currently boasts four Junior National Qualifiers, one US Open and Senior National Qualifier, and six individual high school All-Americans.
Luckily, this wasn’t too difficult of a workout. This Norseman is just getting back into training again after well over a year off. I think Coach Marcel might have intentionally taken it easy on me.