I've been swimming longer than I've been walking.
My mom had me in the water long before I ever took my first steps. I took swimming lessons every summer and was one of the "Pool Rats" that practically lived at the pool in the summers. I sweated chlorine. But there were no club teams near us and, even if there were, that was beyond our budget. So I didn't start swimming competitively until I was in high school.
My coaches in high school definitely favored yardage over technique so my stroke never improved. If anything, it suffered because I was putting in 7,000 to 10,000 yards per day doing the wrong things. Needless to say, I was an adequate swimmer. My best time in the 200FR was something around a 2:30. I busted my ass but I busted it with crappy technique. It wasn't until I went through WSI training and learned the proper stroke mechanics that I was able to finally improve my own stroke. (it's still mediocre but at least now it's technically correct)
I've been struggling lately. Before we left for Korea, I was itching to get back on deck. It hadn't been possible in Hawaii, primarily because I had two littles at home that I was homeschooling and a husband that worked crazy hours. And my kids didn't swim. Then we came here and they started swimming, so I mentioned to the head coach that I had coached in the past and was willing to help - volunteer, even.
And I was turned down.
No worries. They had enough coaches and I wasn't needed. Then summer rolled around and they were short on coaches so I offered to help out again. And again, I was turned down.
That hurt. I was never given a reason - just told no. So I licked my wounds and moved on. I started officiating and found I enjoyed it - not as much as coaching, but it helped dull the sting.
We moved to Korea and the team there needed help so I was able to get back on deck and it was glorious. I was in my element. I've been coaching since I turned 18 and I truly enjoy it. I've coached multiple levels - stroke development/swim lessons, age-group, and high school. I'm ASCA certified - working on Level 2 - and have a B.S. in Kinesiology. I'm not just some swimmer-turned-coach because those who can't do, teach. It's a passion and I love it. It's a part of who I am. But then we left Korea and, in leaving, my coaching job. I left a piece of myself behind.
I don't miss teaching in a classroom. With No Child Left Behind and Common Core and the advent of every student with a cell phone, the idea of stepping back into a classroom gives me hives.
But I miss coaching. Desperately.
In Korea, I was blessed to have another coach working alongside me (I can't call her an assistant coach because she wasn't an assistant.) who swam at the collegiate level - something I never did. She brought with her an amazing knowledge base and expertise, and it was a joy to learn from her. It was a privilege to work with her and I'm still nursing the disappointment of having to leave sooner than I expected. She took the Korea team and has grown it immensely. I love watching their progress and seeing the program grow, but I miss being a part of it. I miss being a part of a team.
That being said, I get to start a new chapter next week. The local high school had an opening for an assistant coach so I put in for it and was hired. I am almost giddy at the thought of setting foot back on deck in a capacity other than that of official. Logistically it's going to be a struggle. MacGyver is still in school and not able to help out much so I'm going to have to jump through my butt to get people to the places they need to be while meeting all of my other obligations (did I mention I'm still working 20-25 hours per week at my 'regular' job and thankfully they are letting me duck out early 3x/week to go coach? And did I mention that I'm also juggling 2, possibly 3, other side jobs, volunteering to officiate, and trying to ramp up my Team Rubicon involvement? Yeah...I need a freaking cape.).
But I'll be coaching. It will all be worth it.
I can't freaking wait.
P.S. More coaching adventures can be found HERE and HERE.