My Career As A Swim Coach Changed My Life For The Best

My Career As A Swim Coach Changed My Life For The Best

These athletes are consistently pushing me to be the best version of myself, both on and off the deck.


One thing that I have always been incredibly grateful for is my job. The biggest reason for that is because I have found that most people my age hate their job. It is so common to hear someone complain about what happened at work, how late they had to stay out, how gross they felt when they were done, how unappreciated they are, and on and on. Now, I've had my share of jobs that I felt unappreciated at too, and perhaps because of them, I am able to appreciate my current job even more. The job I am speaking so highly of… is a swim coach.

I work 6 days a week, coaching a number of different athletes of all ages and abilities. On a day-to-day basis, through a couple of different programs, I work with children who are simply learning the basics of swimming, floating, and water safety, children who are beginning to develop the fundamentals of competitive swimming, and middle school students who are competing at a more serious level in preparation for high school.

Seeing such a spectrum of swimmers allows me the necessary knowledge and experience to help everyone the best that I can. Sometimes I find myself explaining something to an 8th grader that I learned from watching an 8-year-old, and vise-versa.

These athletes are consistently pushing me to be the best version of myself, both on and off the deck. At practice, I strive to be the best example for them as possible. When they're not around, they live in the back of my mind. I have given too many speeches on diets, work ethic, and laziness for me to ever slack off without feeling guilty.

Being able to not only spend so much time on pool decks but to also get paid for it, is something that I will never take for granted. Everything that is asked of me during any particular season of the sport is something that I genuinely do not mind doing. Organizing meet lineups, planning lessons, practices, and sets, contacting coaches and parents, learning about effective techniques and so many other aspects of the job is actually enjoyable and at times I find myself looking forward to putting in that work. It is not labor intensive, there is plenty of room for flexibility, I practically act as my own boss, and it can even be fun. Not everyone can say that about their jobs.

Above all, the athletes that I work with have found a way to reach me like I never thought possible. The bonds and relationships that I have with students have been like anything that I have ever been able to explain before. Knowing that I am helping to shape a future generation purely by my example and work ethic is both satisfying and acts as a powerful motivator. When I am on the pool deck, I realize that everything I do and say could have an impact on a swimmer, and further, the nature of a particular practice (which I designed) could affect their performance as well. That kind of position has given me the motivation to be the absolute version of myself at all times... both on and off the deck.

Even on the weekends, long after practice has ended, I still have my athletes in the back of my mind, especially my middle schoolers. I have given too many speeches on diets, work ethic, and laziness for me to ever slack off without feeling guilty. All of my swimmers remind me to be the best for myself, even when they are not around. When I'm making plans for dinner, when I am pushing myself at the gym, and when I consider putting off my homework for a cheap distraction, without fail, my coaching side comes out and reminds me of what I would tell they were making the same decisions.

My relationships with all of my athletes have also kept me humble, down to earth, and in touch with pop culture references that I may not have picked up on my own (and there are still a LOT that I don't understand... I'm getting old). Going into a field of college study where professors aren't able, nor try, to relate to their students really hits home and makes me grateful that I can have relevant conversations with swimmers.

Being able to understand another person's point of view is an indescribably powerful thing that not everyone is able to do. It is even harder to understand generations younger than you. So when I consider all of the real-life conversations and dilemmas that my athletes experience outside of swimming, I don't take that insight for granted. Rather, it is important to use what I know effectively and attempt to build an even stronger bond. In my time coaching, the best performances have come from the swimmers who feel the most comfortable and confident on the team and with the coaches.

Every practice offers a lesson. Every meet brings a new reward. Every athlete brings a new reason to keep going.

I look forward to every single day. My job is amazing and it changed my life. Even if I were to stop now, the time that I have put into the pool has already changed and molded my personality beyond alteration. If any of you reading ever have the opportunity to pass along knowledge of something that you already love... I highly recommend doing so.

Helping and teaching someone to share similar passions is like nothing else in the world. Don't tell my boss, but I would do it for free. I will always be grateful, and will never take what I have for granted. I love my job.

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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Sports And Religion

Why are so many athletes religious?


I recently just made it on to the USC Track and Field team, and it is easily the biggest accomplishment I have ever made in my entire life. I worked so hard to physically and mentally prepare to try out for the team, let alone actually make it. I thank God for allowing me to have the chance to be a part of this team, as well as giving me that physical and mental strength required to do so, and I express this whenever someone congratulates me for making the team or even asks if I made it or not. However, I noticed that when I did this, some of the responses were a bit dismissive when I brought religion into the picture. When I said I thank God for it, I would be met with responses like "Yea well even aside from God..." or another response that drew the conversation away from my faith, away from the concept of a god.

In fact, I've noticed that many athletes are religious in some form-- more so collectively than other student bodies aside from religious groups themselves. I thought about why this may be, aside from the obvious answer such as growing up religious at home, because that does not answer the question; many people grew up in a religious household and are not religious themselves. So, I began to think personally. Why do I thank God for my athletic performance? There's a certain level of uncertainty within every sport. All athletes train their hardest to minimize this level of uncertainty, in order to maximize their chances of success. However, you can only train so hard. To me, no matter how hard you train, there's always some type of level of uncertainty to every level of performance: the chances of you getting injured, the chances of you winning your game or race, the chances of the opponent's performance, etc. This is where I think God intervenes, and perhaps other athletes would agree. There have been countless times where I ran well and had absolutely no idea how I did it. Yes, I worked hard to improve my times, but when you are in the moment of a race, or a game, that fades into the background, especially when everyone else has been working just as hard. It's just you, your race (or game), and God. That's it.

I could have not made the team. As a walk-on, there is more pressure for you to perform since the coaches did not seek you out; you sought them out. You are proving your abilities. Thus, I was nervous about my chances of actually making the team, especially considering the fact that the USC track team is arguably the best collegiate track team in the United States. I performed well during my try out and finished all the workouts, however I wasn't as fast as the other girls. In addition, I was 3 minutes late to my last day of tryouts and got chewed out by the coach for it. I was convinced that I blew my chances. And yet, somehow, I made it. I worked so hard for it, yes, but I thank God for keeping my body healthy so I could train to the best of my ability. I thank Him for allowing the coaches to have the time to try me out. I thank Him for allowing them to see my potential. I thank Him for giving me the best high school track coach possible who prepared me mentally and physically, as well as supported me throughout all the highs and all the lows. I thank Him for giving me this chance to continue my track career at the most prestigious collegiate team. My gratitude for all this, is simply infinite.

There is good reason why many athletes are religious; being an athlete requires you to be more than yourself. It requires you to dig deeper, into places that you didn't even think were possible, and really aren't without the belief of a higher power. The belief in a higher power, in whatever form or name that takes, means the belief in infinite possibility. And for an athlete to have that, means nothing can stop them from chasing their dreams.

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