Coach Spotlight - Coach Laura

COOL Surf Report
Apr 12, 2019

Tell us about your swim journey? I don't remember NOT knowing how to swim. My parents enrolled me in parent/child swimlessons as a baby, which I stayed in until I was 10. At 13, we moved to South Korea with the USAF and everyone joined the Osan Piranhas summer league team during the summer. It was THE THING to do! At 15, we moved to Hawaii and I joined the Hickam Hurricanes Swim Team. I'm proof that it's never too late to start club swimming! I chose not to pursue swimming at the collegiate level, although I did swim for one year with the Emporia Aquatics Club. However, I stayed in the pool teaching lessons and coaching as opportunities arose. I have been working in aquatics for over 20 years.

What is your favorite thing about coaching? Hands down, the swimmers. I love being with the kids, coaching and seeing their hard work and determination pay off as they achieve their goals.

What do you enjoy doing most when you are NOT coaching?  Wait. I have free time?! Kidding. I love spending time with my husband, kids anddogs. I sew, mostly doll clothes for my nieces and daughter, do hand embroidery and crochet. I love to read.

Who are your favorite swimmers? Janet Evans, Amy Van Dyken, Katie Ledecky

What is your favorite coaching memory? There are a few moments that stand out in my memory. Two involve swimmers looking at the scoreboard and seeing they achieved a goal. I kept the split sheet from one of those swims because the look on her face reminded me why I do what I do. The others involve relays where our swimmers made the other team work for their first or second place finish. Those relays had us all on our feet cheering and yelling. It was AMAZING to see them pull together everything we had taught them and RACE.

What advice would you give to parents?  A few years ago, I had the privilege of listening to Bob Bowman (Micheal Phelps’ coach) speak. He said people often ask him what made Micheal Phelps. Several factors are out of anyone's control but a big factor was his family. His mother, Bowman said, respected the process. She knew there would be ups and downs..."good" and "bad" years. She didn't push; swimming was HIS choice and HIS passion. As a parent, coach and Coach Mom (my daughter swims for COOL) it can be so hard to step back and look at the big picture. However, when we give a toddler a crayon we don't expect perfect handwriting or amazing art. We know those might come, but until then, the scribbles are important both developmentally and in building a love for art. It's important to enjoy and learn in the short term, keeping in mind that the goal is a life-long love for swimming. The swimmer may have goals for their swimming "career" but when it is time to hang up the goggles, they need to have fond, happy memories of their time in the pool.

Random fact!  I have been to North Korea! When we lived in South Korea, various groups would visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) to visit the troops. You could cross over the dividing line between the countries. It was eye-opening!