Coaching Collegiate Swimming

I coached swimming and water polo for ten years, back in the day. I first got hired at my alma mater, Huntington Beach High School, when I was 19 years old. I fell in LOVE with coaching right away. I felt at home on the pool deck and loved water polo and swimming so it really didn’t feel like a job at first! I was getting paid about $1,500 for a season. (I am letting you all know how much these saints get paid to basically babysit and teach your children basic life skills).

After that first season of girls polo I was asked to take on the head coaching position for the girls swimming team. I was on cloud 9, I was getting paid about $3,000 for a season.

After spending five years at Huntington Beach High School I was asked to be the graduate assistant at Whittier College. My former coach was the Aquatics Director and he knew I had just graduated from Long Beach State. If you have never heard of a graduate assistant position, it is where the college will pay for your school in exchange for coaching/teaching. I learned SO much about the collegiate realm, mainly recruiting.

After being the graduate assistant for two years I was offered the head coaching position. I was SO excited. Nothing anyone could have told me would have made me turn the job down. I was offered $25,000 for the year.

The first year of coaching was uneventful in the best way possible. I had an amazing team who I had already worked with the past two years and they were totally on board with me being the head coach. I was very thankful for that group of student-athletes, they helped me grow and supported me throughout the ups and downs of the season. I could have coached that team for years.

The second year got real rocky. I had recruited an amazing new class and had a lot of talent. But I felt like every other day I was dealing with problems. Which sometimes you have to do as a coach, which sucks, but I felt like it was a daily uphill battle. I tried to put it into perspective, but by the end of the season I had to self-reflect on how much stress I was putting myself through and how much I was gaining from this position. I was offered a $5,000 raise to start my third year, so I would have been making $30,000. I was driving 2+ hours a day, coaching at absurd hours of the day, spending weekends traveling to meets and pulling my hair out trying to get students to come to the school.

I basically had a mental breakdown because I loved the job so much that it literally took over my life. A few instances I can remember… 1) After the men’s 4×100 free relay at championships got disqualified after getting 2nd (which is a shit ton of points) I went outside and broke a pencil in half. I had had coaches who would get that heated and I told myself I would never get that way, well there I was with wooden shards in my hand. 2) Kyle and I were on a fun day date to Venice and I got a call from a recruit about their decision on attending the school. I literally dashed into Nordstroms and called them back, just leaving Kyle! There were a lot of other examples of me checking my email non-stop, crying over something that happened or being overly exhausted.

I decided to leaving coaching all together, hardest decision of my life. I entered the corporate realm doing recruiting and I HATED it. Going from inspiring energetic athletes to reading resumes and calling people all day was a shock. I lasted less than a year. Then I found my way back to coaching in a sense, personal training. I got my certification and worked at The Training Spot for the last two years.

And today I applied for a collegiate swimming position. I told myself I would probably never go back. But I keep thinking about it and I am being drawn back in… I am hoping with being a bit older, having a little more perspective and going into it with a different mindset will help?

We will see where this goes!

Love, Tasman

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