Category Archives: WNKM Swim

Then it Was Over

img_8060The 26th season as a head coach came to and an end on Saturday. Now I am left trying to wrap my head around the fact that we will not be able to watch Anna swim on a regular basis anymore in high school.

The journey was a great one with plenty of ups and downs. Something that I wish every parent could experience. Our relationship grew each day. We challenged each other to get better. We struggled. We succeeded. It was hard and it happened every day. Some of it was together, while at other times, we each had to figure it out on our own.

I know she has plenty of fast swims still in her as she moves forward. Forward being at a yet undetermined college that will probably be more than 3 hours away.

There are plenty of you that have sent your kids off to college after the enjoyment of watching them play their high school sport. There are probably some of you that were able to coach your own kid at some point as well. You can probably relate to some of this.

This past season was by itself its own journey:

  • Torn ACL on April 7th.
  • Surgery seven weeks later on May 26th
  • Went to Girl Scout Camp – walked without crutches for a week on June 12th
  • Back in the water for a mere 25 meters, 7 weeks after that on July 21st
  • Swam every day between July 24th and the 28th during our contact days
  • Season for High School started August 9th
  • 30 physical therapy sessions between the surgery and August 30th
  • Cleared for everything at the beginning of October
  • Swam the 100 Butterfly and 100 Breaststroke at the Conference and Sectionals

Back on April 8th, the day after it was torn, we came up with #NoOffDays. We each knew that she was the only one that could do the work to make it back.  She had to both push herself and at the same time know her limits. Not go to fast or too quick while staying inside the parameters set by the athletic trainer and the Doctor.

I think this struggle and determination during this stage of her life will end up paying large dividends later. She should be able to draw on the experience to make her stronger. To know and to understand the full impact of what it means to work hard and to get close to the results that you worked for. To know your own limits while still being able to push to the next level. To be able to set goals and fall a bit short.  Not a failure but rather a learning experience. Anna’s goal was to make it back to State, and she fell a bit short.  But it was not because of lack of effort or lack of will.

This is the part that I will miss most.  Her ability to stay focused on her goals, while at the same time showing full support of everyone else around her on the team. If that was one thing that I was able to impress upon her over 4 years – that the team is more important than the individual – then I did succeed as the parent/coach.

The best part about this story is that on Monday, I get to start this exact same journey a second time. This time with Luke. We can only hope that he is ready for the ride!


Finish Line

The finish line is in plain view.  We are almost done with Week 27 of 28 of what has been a great, exciting, strange ride from the very word go.  Girls High School swimming officially started August 13th of 2013, and the Boys High School season will end next weekend on the 22nd of February.  And let me tell you there has been a ton in between.

But on the night of WIAA State, then we will have 24 Hours of Happiness and maybe a night to relax 🙂

The question I get asked the most since this is my first time coaching the boys team is this: Which season do you like more?

It is a tough question.  And both have their ups and downs, both have their pluses and minuses.  And maybe this year does not totally count because my daughter was on the team, but there is no easy answer.  And I probably will not give you a direct answer on this.

What I do know is that we already need to start planning for August and the start of the Girls Season.  Just had an open house with the incoming freshman and talked to them about the season.  When two seasons takes exactly half of a year to complete, there is really only about 6 months to plan for the upcoming season.

It is a journey, not a destination.

Already talking to the potential captains for the fall.  Already talking about creating covenants with the boys for next winter.  Putting finishing touches on the schedule for the fall.  Talking about bringing back the Northstar Invite for the boys.

So although the meet and day to day practices will be over soon.  The seasons really never end.


End of the Year

The calendar year has come to an end.  It seems like it has been 12 months filled with swimming, soccer, Girl Scouts, and people passing away.  And although the last quarter of the year has been filled with tears and sorrow, it has also brought the immediate family closer together.

Back in January, I started coaching at Waukesha Express.  This is the team that both my kids belong to.  It was a great Expressopportunity for me personally to develop and refine my coaching skills.  And since both kids are there a great deal, we have extra time to bond.  Anna is now on the Senior team, and Luke is in Silver and moving up.  Kids are really finding themselves in swim, still have fun, and are making some great friends.  Watching them progress is great.  And they have learned lessons about making commitments to the team.

Men’s golf trip to Orlando with my brother and Family Vacation to the Dells with the Mollets took place in February and March.  Trip to Orlando allowed me to retain my GASER Cup Championship and form Team SEACOW!  Trip to the Dells with Mollet is just one in a long string of extended family vacations with a great family.

Also in the spring, I had my term as PTO President at Bethesda come to an end.  Great experience working with good people and aLuke super Principal.  At the same time I was becoming the Wisconsin Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (WISCA) President.  Some think it is an honor, but it is just more of drawing the short straw 🙂  We are trying to set some direction for the future of high school swimming in Wisconsin.  Have been coaching for 23 seasons, and I thought it was time to give back more to the sport I really enjoy.

Summer came and that meant Girl Scout Camp.  Another great year of leading great young adults and turning them into leaders.  Michelle and Lynnette run one of the largest volunteer based camps in the country.  I run the canoe station.  While at Camp, Michelle and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Most people would rather be in some far away remote resort, but I can think of no other place we would rather be for our anniversary.  It defines who we really are.

Anna and MeWe then moved to the high school swim season starting.  But this time with an added twist.  Anna was going to be on the team.  She got to see both the good and bad of the sport.  She got to see the good and bad of being the coaches daughter.  All in all it was a great 14 weeks.  You are only as good as the staff you put together, and my staff was off the charts great.  I think that I thanked Sarah, Elle, and Alex almost every day for being part of the coaching staff.

There was a little fire at the high school on August 1st, so we were out of our home pool for an entire month.  There were some concerns if the school would open on time.  But it did and Anna started high school.  Luke started middle school.  4 months into it now and both are doing great.  Anna went to Homecoming.  Luke is making some new friends while still being able to see his Bethesda buddies once in a while.  The transition went much smoother than I ever thought.

Grew a moustache for the 2nd straight year for Movember.  And for the 2nd straight year I was able to raise over 400 dollars for Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer Awareness!!

As soon as the Girls season ended, I started coaching the Boys team at Waukesha North/Kettle Moraine/Pewaukee.  And although I kid that everyone was more excited about me coaching this team than I was, it has turned out to be pretty fun.  It is a strong willed group of young men, that want to get faster.  Sarah is my assistant and once you spend 28 straight weeks together you really get to know a person.  If I ever had a sister, I would want her to be like Coach Sarah.

Grandma and MomMy Mom had a stroke at the end of August and passed in the middle of October.  It was a rough time all around.  So many emotions.  So many great memories.  Had a fun time remembering things that I forgot and learning things I never knew by looking through all the photos.  Gave a little speech at the dinner after the service that makes me cry just thinking about.

And then just this past weekend, my grandma (Mom’s Mom) had her memorial service.  She was 90.  My Aunt, Mom’s sister, reminded my Grandma to say “Hi” to my Mom when she sees her in heaven.  Most of the family that was in town in October was back in town for this service.  I told most of them that I don’t need to see them for a couple of month, well, at least under these circumstances.

Michelle is still working at North High School.  She is on her third boss since starting, but I think this one is going to stick around for a while.  She is still running Girl Scout Camp.  I think for three more summers.

Luke is playing SC Waukesha soccer, swimming for Waukesha Express, is taking improve classes after school, and is deeply invested into Minecraft.

Anna is swimming for Waukesha Express, looking forward to high school soccer, and is still reading a great deal.

Here is to 2014 being just as exciting and adventurous as 2013.  And hoping that all of you have a great New Years.


Halfway Home

This week started week 7 of the swim season, which means we are about halfway to the finish line.  And so far the adventure of Parent/Coach has gone pretty smooth.

Anna and MeFrom the “How Fast is She Swimming” standpoint she is doing pretty well.  She has made 6 lifetime bests during this stretch and is closing in on a couple more.  Her development of the strokes has come along pretty well, but we still have a ton of room for growth in a couple technical aspects.

From the “How is it Coaching your Daughter, I could Never do that” standpoint is is also going so well.  Knock on wood.  She fits in well with the team we have in the water, and they all enjoy giving me the business on a regular basis.  We have two SPECTACULAR assistants that understand the parent/coach perspective that I am in, and also handle it very well.  They both have made my biggest fears go by the side as the season has gone along.  She accepts my comments as ways to make her swim faster, and we have left most of the true swim conversation to the pool and the car thus far.

5 Weeks to the Conference Meet.  I for one am really looking forward to it.


First one in the books

First meet as Father / Daughter and Coach / Swimmer is in the books.  Read more here.  It is good to get that first one out of the way.  Enough of the nervousness is now gone.

The first two weeks were not really what either one of us expected.  Because of a fire in the Waukesha North gym on August 1st, we have not been in our “home” pool since the season started.  This is probably a blessing in disguise.  With all of us practicing at the same time (team of 30) in an 8 lane pool at Waukesha South, Anna and I have had limited interaction.  Some, but not a great deal.  She has been working with the best assistants a coach could ever have.

The one thing that is evident is that she will be in great shape when she goes back to Senior 1 in the Winter.  She has commented that the practice speed and expectations are a bit higher than what she was use to at the club, but she has embraced the challenge.

Pretty sure all 4 swims tonight were lifetime best swims.  And I am pretty sure that this will not happen all season nor her whole career.  But it is fun to get that level of excitement in your blood when you do get a best time.

For those keeping track at home:50 fly on the Medley Relay and went 30.11.   200 IM went 2:41.43.   Led off Varsity B 200 free relay with a 28.54 and then went 1:23.18 Varsity breaststroke.

Big step forward tonight.  And to think, in a couple weeks school will start and she will officially be a freshman.

This is a picture of Michelle’s View of the Meet.

1st Meet


Still Coaching

After all these years of coaching, and with all the headlines of coaching nightmares in the media, people ask me a great deal on why I still coach.  And before I can answer, they remind me that it is a thankless job with little to no pay and that I have to put with {You fill in the blank here}.

I supposed I never look at it that way.  I look at “coaching”as another opportunity to help young people get from point A to point B with more skills to succeed in life while still having some fun.  And I throw “coaching” in quotations because it is as much about swimming related things as it is about life events.

And every once in a while you get a letter like this in the US Mail…

Thank You

The letter does go on on how this student/athlete is really looking forward to swimming in college.

And then you are reaffirmed that what you are doing on a regular basis is worth it.  Big Time.


2012 Year in Review

SuperBowlStill recovering from the Packers being bounced from the Playoffs, the family goes to the Super Bowl Experience in Indy the week before the Super Bowl.  Then we head out for a tubing/swim long weekend to Sunburst and then to Blue Harbor in Sheboygan in February.

March started with a massive snowstorm on the 2nd, and then the new scoreboard at the North Aquatic Center was install on March 6th.

Group PhotoKyle goes with his brother and buddies to Gulf Shores for 6 rounds of golf in 4 days over St. Patrick’s Day/Opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.   GASER Championship is won!

April was very exciting.  Mollet’s and Bedalov’s go to Vegas for Spring Break.  And on our return, Michelle starts working full time at Waukesha North.

Kyle went to Kansas City for work in mid may and had an awesome meal at Jack Stack Barbecue.   Anna gets her braces put on, andFractured Wrist Luke breaks his radius in his left hand.

Anna BracesWith Michelle working full time, planning for Girl Scout camp occupied a great deal of time in May and June, and culminated with a great week of togetherness at Camp Winding River at the end of June.  It also concluded with Luke getting Cryptosporidium and Vibrio

Kyle wins his second golf “major” in mid July at the 19th Annual Tiedt Invitational Tournament.

Swim and School start in August and September and then October rolls in and things start blurring together.

Soccer, birthdays, ushering, choir, watching the Olympics, Badger football games, and meeting LeRoy Butler.  Kyle and LeRoy

Kyle growing a mustache, replacement referees, Luke and Kyle goto a Packer game, fantasy football, working home games at Waukesha North and then Christmas is upon us.


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