For about a month now, I have been coaching for a year-round swim team called, Swim Dogs. They are a fabulous team that I swear was designed around my own coaching philosophies. There is a strong focus on community and unity, as well as improving your strokes and your heart for the sport.
I have the responsibility of encouraging and guiding the little guys. They are utterly wonderful. Their energy and spark is inspiring and flows throughout the pool like a beautiful perfume. The reception of kids that age is so remarkable. They want to get better and they want you to be proud. Where does that go as you age? I try to learn from these kiddos and borrow little bits of their energies to store in my pockets and use for my own swim training.
The other day was the first time I was referred to as, "coach Ryan." It was simply music to my ears. I hadn't realized ever before the pride that I have to be a coach and the happiness that I feel when acting the part.
I'm so glad to be back in the pool as well as out of the pool. This full-circle of the sport will only make me a stronger contender in the end. I will forever hold close that identity of swimmer/coach.