Dive Right In- Lessons from the Pool Deck

As I prepare to coach the first swim classes of the triathlon season, I got to thinking about how I first connected with the sport. The swim was the most intimidating part and I had no idea what to expect. If anyone had told me that I would be a certified USAT and ST GRID Swim Coach 20 years down the line, I never would have believed them. 

My swimming experience at that point involved doing whatever I had to do in order to not drown. It took 40 minutes to swim a mile and by the time I was done, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t hold my arms up. Trying to get out of the pool was tough- I looked like a Neanderthal, with my knuckles dragging on the ground. 

Turned out that this coach needed a coach. I went to see Doug Stern, a coaching legend. Doug was one of the most brilliant swim coaches I've ever met and I worked with him for years; he transformed my swimming. We decided to work together, our working relationship did not last long, as, sadly Pancreatic cancer took Doug’s life. I lost my coach, my mentor, my friend. 

I always tell people, “I wish you could have met Doug, not only did you learn a lot, you had fun doing it."  He was beloved by the triathlon community and you can check out some of his work collected in this great thread on Slowtwitch

I take inspiration from Doug every time I step onto the pool deck to work with athletes. My primary goal is to help build confidence in the water through equal parts technique, hard work and fun.