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End of Season BBQ

Head Coach Address from the End of Season BBQ and Awards

We have had another fabulous year of achievement for the team. We have had our highest ever enrollment, had even more athletes qualifying for PNS Champs and Regionals than last year, had an athlete qualify for Zones, and we have successfully launched a new Water Polo Team on the Island, The Fireballs. And, as shown by our performance at the Dual in the Pool against Metro, the SEALS and Fireball athletes are fantastic competitors; whether it was their first swim meet for the team, or their last one as a SEAL, the enthusiasm and good sportsmanship were outstanding – even at a chilly 7:30am!

As we were at the Emerald City Open Water Swim this morning, I was thinking about what to say today. Being in the water with seven other SEALS was a humbling act. I felt embarrassed to put myself out there with such talent; the seasoned athletes like Trevor, Hannah and Kiana, and those trying the event for the first time, Ellie, Spencer, Liesl and Amy. Yet I did it anyway, and Ellie Snowman and I swam together reaching the halfway point just as the older swimmers were staggering out of the water. Both Ellie and I were nervous, so we supported each other the whole way, holding hands and running over the finish line together. Trevor, Hannah and Kiana placed first in their age groups, Spencer came fourth in his, Liesl and Amy and came second in theirs and Ellie surprised us all with second place and the biggest grin, in the 10-12 girls group.

I was smiling with pride at their achievement, and I realized that our athletes – not just us at the Emerald City, but all of you who show up to practice every day – this is how we roll. We feel the fear and do it anyway. We are always riding the edge of our comfort zone, no matter if it is a Challenge Meet or a tough practice. And we can do that; we have all our “Individual Achievement,” (whatever that may look like,) because we have the Team alongside us.

It’s challenge, treading the line between the individual and the team, coaching our top athletes to their highest potential while nurturing new talent from the beginning. Running a highly successful competitive swim team and creating fun programs for young athletes to try a new sport. Yet it’s a challenge that we must continue to rise to, we must embrace all our swimmers regardless of the level they swim at, because we are all on the same Team. We never know where the next astounding achievements will come from, or when a new champion will emerge. What we do know is that we create the best Team environment in which athletes can thrive, and talent can grow.

We can have Zones qualifiers because we have Perlas and Brisas and Loriens and Nathans. We have PNS Champions because we have Charlottes and Keeleys and Rutas and Sequoias. We can have athletes graduate and swim at college because we have Maias and Maxes, Jacobs and Hannahs. We have events like this because we have supportive, dedicated families, and I can only be a successful coach because I am fortunate enough to have an exceptional board and an amazing Randy Turner.

Without Randy, our swimmers would not be entered into or expertly coached at meets nor would we have the dual meets throughout the year. Our team is well respected throughout the PNS community because of his integrity, good sportsmanship and humor. His workouts are fun, his athletes adore him, and with the commitment and stability he brings, our team continues to prosper. I want to thank you, Randy, for everything you do. You are a huge part of how we role. We can’t do it without you.

I often think that coaching is like dropping a pebble in the water; I’m never sure of the impact, or how far the ripples will spread. I have been doing this job since the 2005-6 Season, and the very first group of fourth and fifth grade athletes I ever coached graduated from high school this year. I know how important the Team has been to them – just ask any swimmer who has graduated from this program – yet I want you also to know how important each of you are to the me; to us. You have each taught us all so much about what Achievement and Unity really are, and I wish you every success as you go out into the world and drop your own pebbles in the water – and may some of those ripples find their way back here.

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