One part of the clinic that a lot of coaches choose to forfeit, and I think that's a mistake, is the ASCA Awards Banquet. The reason I think attending the banquet is worth it is because some of the acceptance speeches are very inspiring, and this year's was no difference. The take home message from those speeches, in all cases, seemed to be that for every coach that was inducted to the ASCA Hall of Fame, while the criteria for the selection involves high level accomplishments, helping young people to grow was far more satisfying than medals and awards.
The sport of swimming is fantastic. It is one of very few sports that offer participation for people of all ages, really. As soon as a kid can get across the pool, he/she would be cheered on in any meet. And participation continues all through life, with Masters records being set for older and older age groups. But in the end, swimming is just swimming. What really makes it so valuable are the lessons that can be learned through the sport. The patience needed to improve a stroke, the hard work, commitment, focus and dedication, all needed to achieve success.
I started swimming competitively at a very late age, and certainly didn't have the physical attributes that would help me making it big in the sport. And yet, it has changed my life. It thought me to set goals and work towards them, all while enjoying the process. It has put me in touch with great people, and ultimately gave me a career for which I have a passion I would not find in other areas. All I can hope to do as a coach is to help swimming touching and changing lives of others, as it did mine. Sure, I still want to see fast swimming as much as I did before, but if I'm lucky enough to one day accept any kind of honor as a coach, I hope to be able to talk about how I helped boys and girls grow as people more than as athletes.
I'm looking forward for a great season!