resilience | re·sil·ience | \ ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s
the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Swimming has always been far more than the sport for me. It has been a way to stay healthy, build strength and remain active in my community; it offers me with the opportunity to challenge myself both physically and mentally. It is through swimming that I have learned some of life’s greatest lessons about others an myself; it is how I have discovered I am able to achieve far more than I ever imagined.
It is through exploring possibilities that I build resilience in myself and those whom I coach.
I have been coaching swimming from a very young age. I remember as a young child I would often stay after swim class to help with the Moms and Tots classes. Later as a young teen I spent my summers helping with beginner swim lessons. More recently I have been coaching adults with physical and intellectual disabilities in the pool, lakes and ocean. I enjoy the challenge of possibilities and the moment when someone learns they are capable of far more than they thought. It is at that moment when we achieve resilience.
Head Swim Coach Special Olympics Victoria
I am the proud swim coach of over 50 Special Olympic athletes. Between the months of October and February each year we meet twice a week at Crystal Pool in Victoria, Canada and swim for an hour.
I have been coaching this incredible group of people for over 6 years. The first year I coached I discovered that many of the athletes had no sense of just how far they could swim. The second year I challenged them to a 1 hour continuous swim. Almost all of the athletes exceeded the goals with many swimmer more than 3 kilometres.
Each year I encourage the athletes to challenge themselves and swim more and more…
… and they do.
I have a passion for open-water swimming as it offers a way of immersing oneself in the environment and connecting with the world in a natural way. For the past few years I have been sharing my passion with 6 developmentally disabled adults who have completed the Thetis Lake Swim, a 35 kilometre relay swim of Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island and a 20 kilometre in the Great Bear Rainforest.
The Spirt Orcas are an example of what is possible. For much of their lives these incredible athletes have been told no or that’s not possible. As their coach I have turned “NO” onto its head and shifted it to “your ON!” I did this by asking one simple question – “How can I help?”
The Spirit Orcas are now taking on challenges you and they could have never imagined. You can learn more about them here.
Race Rocks Challenge – Pearson College
A very good friend approached me about helping a small group of young adults train for an open water swim in May 2019. They wanted to swim from Race Rocks to Pearson College. The challenge; building resilience in the cold water.
Located at a narrow part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Race Rocks is a 3 km2 of ocean, rocks, and reefs. The waterway is in a high tidal current area and is home to a variety of marine life, including marine mammals, sea birds, fish, marine invertebrates, and marine algae and sea grass.
What started as a group of 3 has grown to a group of ten. I am looking forward to guiding them through train for their epic challenge, and crewing form them on the day of their big swim. You can learn more here.
Meliah Motchman is my friend. She is also a 27 year old woman living with Down Syndrome. I have been coaching Meliah through Special Olympics for over six years. Two years ago she asked if she could swim with me at the lake. She wanted to become an open water swimmer. This summer she completed her first 5 kilometer swim. Next year she will attempt a 10 km swim.