For those who have participated in a swim club as a masters, recreational, or competitive swimmer, you can appreciate the impact swim coaches can have on our lives. They come in all forms, from hard-nosed, to humorous, to quiet, to loud, but most importantly, they all are at the center of a small community of people who share a passion for swimming. And in the rare instance, you get a coach (or two) that create the perfect environment for the team they happen to coach.
I want to acknowledge and thank Candy and Andy Noble for having achieved this perfect balance and creating the close community of swimmers at the Weymouth Club over the past 13 years. On a personal level, as I was making plans to move to the Northeast from the West Coast more than four years ago, I recall an email exchange with Candy, who through her enthusiasm, told me all about the local swim and triathlon scene and invited to come to a workout once I got to town. I also vividly recall the first swim practice, where the other swimmers could not have been more welcoming. Aside from a couple of swimmers who moved out of town, every one I met on that first day remained apart of this close-knit team.
The workouts were also “smart.” Having been a member of four masters swim teams from NY, to SF to San Diego, and most recently in Weymouth, and having swam as a guest in at least a dozen more across the country, I can tell you Andy and Candy created the most efficient workouts as far as maintaining one’s swim condition, speed and endurance. Importantly, they did so in an environment that was not too serious and mixed in the right amount of fun. For full transparency, I like to out-touch whoever’s next meet as much as the next person, but at the age of 39, I won’t be winning any Olympic qualifying events anytime soon, nor have I competed in a competitive event in more years than I can remember. But what is important to me at this age and stage of my life with a wonderful wife and young family is to enjoy being in the water.
And if you are in your own swim group, and like me have an appreciation for the hard work that your own coaches do, this story is an important lesson in reminding your swim coaches, their bosses, and their bosses bosses how much you appreciate what they do. I like my fellow swimmers unfortunately didn’t sufficiently bring this to the attention of the Weymouth Club management before said management made a bone-headed decision…
Last week our masters swim group at Weymouth learned that the Club’s management team decided to replace Candy and Andy, without advance notice, with new coaches and program that would “take it to a more instructional and, if the participant chooses, competitive direction” (stunning example of stating the obvious goal of a swim program). How they came to this decision is a mystery as not a single person from the Weymouth Club spoke with any of the swimmers ahead of time about what their goals were or sought their input on ideas for the Master’s team. The cowardly and/or ineptly conceived way this decision was made is in stark contrast to the club’s stated goal to “make the club more family oriented.” Clearly whoever is responsible for retaining members at the clue wasn’t consulted on this decision.
But this is not a post to bash the Weymouth Club, but one to encourage you to remember to thank your coach and most importantly, for those who swam with Candy and Andy, let’s immortalize our appreciation for all they’ve done by posting your comments and fun memories while swimming under them. Again, thank you Andy and Candy for all your coaching and I am confident we’ll all swim together again soon.