19 January 2008 By Rachel’s


For the past few months I’ve been given the opportunity to work as the strength and conditioning coach for the Judge Memorial High School swim team. As per my usual, I jumped into it head first without thinking. All I knew was that if I had the opportunity utilize in high school what I know now, I can’t even imagine where I would be. So of course I wanted to share my knowledge (obsession). I feel so lucky that Matt Finnigan sought me out to work with them. Well it has most certainly been a mixed bag of lessons for me.
First is OMG! Working with over 30 energized teenagers 2-3 days a week can wear this energizer bunny out! How many teenagers do you know who get up to be at swim practice at 5:40 AM, go to school and then show up at 3-6 PM to strength train with me or do yoga and then swim again? Oh ya, they also have sat/sun swims. I thought I was doing a lot swimming my 4-5 days a week if I’m lucky–no wonder they are so fast!
Second is that it is so hard to keep so many swimmers motivated. A) They’re in high school–even for these athletes, socializing is the priority if they can get away with it. B) Ya, dry land can be boring (unless you’re a nut like myself and over do it because it is soooo much fun!). C) I had to be as creative as I could using spaces that weren’t always adequate and mostly body weight strength training only options. This gave the kids lots of complaining opportunities as we played musical spaces, or I prefer to call it variety in training environments. D) I had to be a cheerleader even if I was tired. Who is going to be motivated if you have a cranky coach? E) Massage and Shavasana at the end of the workout–BRIBES are wonderful!!!
Three is I finally understand what coaches and teachers go through. For little or no money, they dedicate their lives to sharing love and knowledge with a bunch of kids who often act as though they don’t care. They hope that from all they put into their work that somehow they will inspire some aspect of their lives and perhaps help them become greater human beings in even one facet of their lives. Well, I only spent a small part of my time this fall and winter helping them and I feel so lucky to have had that chance. Matt and Giulia (awesome assistant coach) are two of my new heros as they live and breathe for the Judge swimmers right now! I don’t know how they do it. Amazing!!!! Now, I suppose what I’m mostly trying to say with all this jargon is, I don’t know if or how I helped any of the kids. But, I know it wasn’t a waste of time no matter what as Matt, Guilia, and all of the Judge swimmers inspired me in more ways than they may ever know.
So even though I wasn’t able to spend as much time with the kids as I hoped or spend much time in the pool at all with them (life of a single working mom?), I hope that they will end this season understanding what having a strong core can do for their swimming and other athletic endeavors and that this little tri-girl loves them and is inspired to keep on swimming ’till I can keep up with the best of ’em.
So here are some pics from day one of regions before the meet. Ya, they’re kicking ASS!

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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