Student athletes coach younger swimmers

Swimmers train younger team members as an after school job

By Iris Sherron, Reporter

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Three competitive swimmers at LHS juggle their practices and school with a side job of coaching younger swimmers for their team.

Senior Jamie Abernathy, sophomore Aubrey Fischer and sophomore Madi Heckman all spend at least four hours a day at the pool with their combined time of their own practice and coaching younger member of their team. All three girls train in the morning with the Lawrence Aquahawks and then coach others in the afternoon.

“I get up at 4:30 in the morning so I have to be in bed by like 10,” Abernathy says. “Most swimmers take naps after school, but I have to run on a little less sleep because of my job.”

Fischer began coaching as a volunteer during the summer after her coach asked for in water assistance, and she was later asked to continue coaching throughout the school year. She plans to continue coaching until she is finished swimming with her team.

“I decided to begin coaching because I needed a job and it worked with my practice schedule perfectly,” Fischer says.

The swimmers work with the some of the youngest groups in the water and sometimes have to modify their workouts to make sure their swimmers will be able to participate effectively.

“A lot of the kids can be rowdy,” Heckman says, explaining the difficulty of working with young swimmers. “It can be really hard to get them to listen.”

Although working with kids can be seen as a challenging job, especially when dealing with them in a pool, Fischer shares her favorite experiences from coaching, “Team cheer at the end of everyday is what I enjoy the most.”

Abernathy said that on Tuesdays, her team rewards young swimmers with a prize for bringing a water bottle. Her team uses ways to keep the young swimmers interested in swimming and to make sure they are still having fun.

“I gave a sticker to a 4 year old, but then I caught her drinking Sprite out of the same water bottle,” Abernathy says. “She tried to pass it off as water.”