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Susan’s 2008 USMS National Coach of the Year Acceptance Speech
Thank you so very much. Wow! This is just amazing. What an incredible honor!
I don’t know of any other profession, where people start off their careers, by waking up at 4:45 in the morning…waking up their spouses...who then go back to sleep…to drive across town...in 38 degrees…to stand outdoors…on cold concrete…for an hour and a half…while people throw water on your shoes…all for $6 an hour. And 20 years later, feel privileged to be doing the exact same thing…with hopefully more pay.
So, I want to start off this evening by thanking my husband, who has been waking up at that ungodly hour with me for 28 years. I also want to thank all my swimmers, and especially Brent and Jerry, who I’m sure went above and beyond to put together a great nomination package and to try and find something nice to say about me, especially, after all the miles that I’ve made them swim.
Our team loves to enter challenge events. No, that’s not true. "I" love to enter challenge events. And I love to challenge my swimmers. We are one of the top programs in the country in the One Hour, 10 K, 5 K, 6000 and 3000 yard postal swims. We had the most entries in the 30 minute swim and Brute Squad Challenge. And I believe that the coach from NASTI is hunting me down at this very conference to figure out who this team from South Texas is, that has more entries in the ButterNut Challenge than their own host team.
Two years ago, in the One Hour Challenge, we had 11 medley relays entered. That means that in addition to the freestylers, we had 11 people swim breaststroke, 11 people swim an hour of backstroke, and, yes, 11 people swim an hour of butterfly!
And we have done all these crazy things because I’ve asked them to…I believe in them, and we as a team, create an environment that supports those goals and gives them the self confidence to know that they can achieve them.
I had two of my swimmers ready to swim the 500 Fly Challenge when one of my, 2:00 per 100 Free kinda guys came up to me and said, “Someday, I’d like to be able to do that”. I said, “That someday is today…Get in! Really, it’s better this way. No time to stress over it. Remember, stay long, chest down, hips up. We leave on the top.” He did finish the event, and then walked over to me and said, “You are a crazy person!” I said, “I’m not the one who just swam a 500 Fly.”
I would also like to thank United States Masters for this award, for their support of us as coaches and what they do for swimming. Please know that I take this award very seriously and I am aware of the responsibility that comes with it. I plan to use it to assist coaches and clubs in the future.
So, just like my swimmers, I challenge you today to become better coaches. Set goals for yourself…Your swimmers…and Your team. Do not accept that you are simply a coach of Masters swimmers, but that you become a Masters swimming coach. Take pride in what you do. Do it with passion. Do it for the love of the sport.
Thank you all so very, very much.