When we left London, it was 100% my intention to retire from coaching swimming. 16 years of sweating on the pool deck on Friday nights from November to March was plenty. Plus I couldn’t imagine coaching with anyone who wan’t Rod and the rest of the crazy crew below. We made the best of some crazy situations and spent most of our time together laughing and/or filling out Rod’s patented heat sheets-a convoluted giant pack of paper where we wrote down kid’s splits that he would later turn into an even bigger packet of meet notes. After our championship meet last spring I retired my clipboard and hung up my orthopaedic flip flops.
Due to a convoluted series of events at school, in December I was basically told that I had to help out with the swim team because I was the most qualified person at school to do so. I tried to explain that my coaching qualifications are about 92% comprised of finding stuff Rod had misplaced but no one cared. I was now the coach of the 3rd to 5th grade team.
I started in January, during what is usually a “try out week” for the lower school kids. I asked how many kids normally turned up to try out and was told 22 or 23 and I should cut it to 20. We have a 7 lane pool and felt bad about the possibility of cutting 3 kids, so just said don’t bother with tryouts, I can take everyone who turns up. Big mistake. Guess what happens when you say you aren’t making cuts? You now have a team of 40 kids, that’s what happens. We practice 2 days a week and it is the most manic 2 hours of my week. We have a sort of segregated practice where I usually take the more experienced swimmers and do more conditioning with them and have my assistant take the kids who need more developmental work. This worked really well for me until one day when we switched it up and I took the other group and now I don’t understand why my assistant hasn’t murdered me for making him work with them every day. They are so squirrely!
We had our first meet yesterday. It was at the British School in town. They have a brand new school out by the airport with a new pool. I looked at some photos online and just about had a freak out when I saw the pool was out in the direct sun. I packed an umbrella and a giant sun hat, unsure what was going to be best-Victorian Lady Swim Coach or Cowgirl Swim Coach but very sure I was going to be miserable. Turns out I panicked and wasted a lot of sunscreen on nothing, they have since covered the pool. I should have been panicked for other reasons.
Guess what happens when you have a bunch of little kids who have never been to a swim meet before and you are at a school that doesn’t hand out or publish the order of events? Sheer pandemonium. I don’t think that I saw a single race-I spent the whole day rounding up kids and putting them in the whipping area. And by rounding up I mean speedwalking up and down the deck yelling “George? Andrew? Has anyone seen Dylan???” and panic sweating. A lot. I thought I was going to cry at least 3 times, mostly during the organisation of the relays. I actually had made heat-sheets Rod style to get everyone’s splits. Hahahahaha. Nothing is written on them, but it’s a good thing I had them to keep track of who I was yelling for next.
I didn’t have a lot of time to worry about how hot I was. Silver linings! Anyway, we won the meet (and a nice trophy) which made the kids and parents happy so I guess no was was scarred by my screeching. I did come home and immediately do this:
Hopefully next time will not be so crazy. I need about a year to recover though.