From Learner to Swimmer: Gratitude to Exceptional Swim Coaches

Navigating Waters: The Role of Trustworthy Coaches

My daughter and I started learning to swim last summer. It’s almost been a year now, and though initially, I intended for only my daughter to continue with the classes, I also ended up enjoying swimming. Here I am, continuing to learn, and it’s all thanks to my coaches.

For me, as a parent and a learner, having a safe environment with trustworthy and affable coaches was one of my priorities when joining the class. My continued participation in the classes is a testament to the quality of the coaches. Today’s post is about my amazing coaches. I had the privilege of being trained by four different coaches. While professionalism, proficiency, and ethics have been a common value system for all of them, I would like to share a few individual characteristics or approaches of each of them which I cherish.

Coach Abhinand – The Supportive Guide

Coach Abhinand

When I started swimming, he was the first to gain my trust because he was right inside the pool to help me navigate through lengths when I had not yet learned how to take breaths between swimming and was still afraid of water. His cool and friendly demeanour helped me take the dives, feeling assured that he supported me every step of the way. He is very good at making learners comfortable and helping them overcome their initial fear of water. Also, his PR skills are great, something that helps in maintaining a healthy relationship between the parents and coaches, where parents come in with different expectations. An endearing trait of his is that he unfailingly wishes us a ‘have a nice day’ after each session, leaving us feeling warmly welcomed.

Coach Gaurav – The Firm Facilitator

Coach Gaurav

He is a man of fewer words with a composed attitude. He is someone whom you may dislike at first because he’s going to push you out of your comfort zone and make sure you don’t escape any warm-ups or drills. But over the days, I realized it was his strictness that helped me explore my strengths, which I wouldn’t have otherwise, and he is great at helping you develop a positive mindset. He’s the one who brings out the best in you, and I’m grateful for his push that instilled in me the grit to strive for excellence.

Dynamic Duo: Balancing Coaching Roles for Optimal Learning

Interestingly, the coaching dynamic between Abhinandan and Gaurav in the early days reminded me of the classic “good cop/bad cop” dynamic in parenting. Both coaches aimed for the best outcomes for their students, seamlessly transitioning between these roles as needed. This balance was instrumental in facilitating my sustainable learning journey in swimming over the past year.

Coach Mallesh

Coach Mallesh – The Pool Precisionist

The youngest and most athletic coach—a pro swimmer cum skater. He is an inspiration, and trust me, while his innocent demeanour may fool you into thinking he’s lenient, convincing him of the quality of your stroke is very difficult. He is a perfectionist and is convinced only if every bit of your stroke comes out clean. He makes sure to give demos inside the pool that will leave you awe-inspiring. He is someone who keeps pushing himself, which, in turn, makes me realize there’s always scope for improvement and learning never ends.

Coach Prashanth Rao – The Visionary Sports Guru

With a vision of taking sports in India to the next level and setting a trend in the world of sports, he is known as Ekalavya in the sports circle and is the Chief Coach for a reason. Balancing multiple roles as a Physics HOD, swimming coach, skater, triathlete and adventure coach, coupled with his experience as a National level swimmer and Inline skater, he infuses the learning environment with enthusiasm and motivation. His proficiency in Physics is an added advantage as he makes us understand the science behind swimming in a simplified way. His energy is contagious and fosters a comfortable environment where we can address our queries and engage in discussions on taboo topics with ease. One of the best things about him is that his teaching extends beyond the pool and encourages a holistic lifestyle close to nature. More so, he has this knack of seeing a person in their entirety and not just as a swimmer, so he knows well how to train them and what to train them for so that swimming becomes a sustainable activity for the learner.

Today, if I find myself a better swimmer (I am sure my coaches would agree!) with increased endurance and enthusiasm for the sport, it’s thanks to my wonderful coaches. Thank you, coaches, for making me fall in love with swimming.

That being said, as summer vacation approaches and swimming becomes one of the most sought-after activities, I figured why not dive into a series of posts on swimming? Especially for those who are on the fence, wondering if and how they should take their first leap into the water… So, get ready for a month filled with posts on swimming, coming this April. If you have any queries or topic suggestions in mind, feel free to drop them in the comments below!

Until then, keep calm and keep swimming!