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World Class Coach

My dad says that one of the most honorable titles he could hold is “coach” At 22 he was an assistant coach for the Dutch team. At 23 he was hired as head coach for the swim club C. N. Sabadell. When we immigrated to the United States, he coached at the Belleville YMCA for several years before planting roots in Little Rock Arkansas, coaching At the Little Rock Racquet Club. He’s been to the Rome and Tokyo Olympics as a coach, and multiple European and world championships. He has a distinguishable whistle that swimmers can hear in the water, encouraging us whether through a race or practice. At 40 years old, he accepted a position with the Spanish Swimming Federation to lead an innovative athletic program. My dad has been passionate about athletes being able to develop to their full potential, not just in their sport. At the time, it was difficult to combine academics and athletics in Europe. The idea was to gather the top swimmers from all over Spain. Each swimmer was offered a scholarship, leveling economic need. Swimmers would spend the school year in a boarding school in the idyllic Cantabrian mountains, focusing on swimming and school. The point was to coach kids to be able to live successful lives, even after their swimming careers. When politicians look at athletics merely as winning a medal or a trophy, they miss the essential part of the sport. Competition is a part of it, but the key is the discipline, camaraderie, and skills that translate into a successful life.

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