I remember one of the first practices Tom came to, it was about two years ago and it was an early morning practice at the outdoor Hartford pool. I was messing around, not doing the set, as usual, when I noticed there was a new coach.
I have been swimming for about ten years now and have had many coaches come and go, not paying too much attention to me. Swimsuit, cap, goggles, one after another, we all blend together. That was until Tom came.
Within his first week of joining the coaching staff for the Lake Country Swim Team, he was the first coach to really see me. I had never received individualized attention because I was not a top swimmer. He saw my arms crossed in front of my head, slowing my stroke. After I fixed my arms, my breathing improved. Another thing Tom noticed was the arches of my feet were flat; the shoes I was wearing and had been causing my kick to be uneven. Never before would I have thought a coach would be paying attention to the arches of my feet. Never.
Tom is the type of coach that truly watches your stroke. He will take the time to analyze the smallest details and show you how to improve. When it comes down to hundredths of a second in races, these fine details can make the difference.
One morning, before school, Tom helped improve my flip turns. I hadn’t realized how much work my turns needed until at the end of the practice I had a whole new turn. With small corrections, I saw the hard work paying off in my races, all thanks to my devoted coach, who saw me.
Not only is Tom my coach, but he’s also a husband and a father, he’s hard-working and dedicated to the team, and a role model to many. He pushes me to my full potential, helping me every step of the way. He is approachable, accommodating, and accepting.