Hey, Coach

It used to be the water calling me that got me up at 4 am.  The romance of the long drive to get to the pool over an hour away and the thought of being in the pool by 5:30.  The smell of coffee and chlorine.  The thought of breakfast afterward.  The brown dog asleep in the back seat.  Music.  Driving.  Coffee.  Swimming.

It used to be the water calling me.

Now it’s the voices of 8 or 10 athletes.


It’s those two brothers who have come to every single workout, racing each other.  The Sons of Thunder.  They make me smile because they came as good swimmers.  Now, they are just a bit better.

It’s that guy who wants to get in better shape and chose swimming because it’s so forgiving on your joints.

It’s those folks who are so afraid of the water, but who still come swim anyway.  Conquering their fears despite ‘almost dying’ every workout.

It’s those ladies who found a boundless passion for the water and swimming in all manner of venues and opportunities and temperatures.

It’s those words:

“I know I almost died… but you make it so much fun, I almost forget that part.”

Because that’s a neat trick that I really didn’t know I possessed.

And these words:

“I thought that this program was going to be for people who could already swim.  You’re such a great swimmer, I thought that you wouldn’t want to work with people like me who aren’t very good swimmers.  But I can tell you are genuinely excited to work with someone like me.  Someone you get to watch improve over time.  You just love to share swimming. That’s really neat.”

Because that’s exactly it; I love to share swimming.  I love to share the water and to help people not to be afraid of it.  I love to empower people – the overlooked, the overweight, the unhealthy, the unhappy – with swimming.  Swimming was a doorway for me and I want to hold the door for the others coming behind.

And these words:

“Thank you!  See you next time!”

Because I will.  I will see you next week.  Next time.  We’re already looking forward to the next 4 am alarm and the next long drive and the next cup of coffee and the chlorine and the hellos and the goggles and the kick boards and the sprint set…

And the words:

“Hey, coach.”