At the 2000 Olympic Games, Kristy Kowal accomplished what many strive for but few attain: a spot on top of the Olympic podium. While this dream had become a reality, this elite swimmer began her career in much the same way as any – in a mommy-and-me class for water safety. Eventually she “progressed” to practicing in either lanes 1 or 8 in order to cling onto the wall to catch her breath. Little did she know that this was the humble beginnings of her pathway to greatness. Kristy just naturally had fun with it: “I fell in love with being in the water, with new friends on the swim team, and the pool itself.”
This sense of fun and discovery is crucial for participants to truly connect with new skills they will learn at their Fitter and Faster clinic as well as throughout their swimming career. Does your swimmer need to reconnect with their playful love for the water? Look no further than a clinic with Kristy! She combines her love for swimming with a passion for teaching to engage participants in an unforgettable experience.
“Being a clinic coach perfectly combines my two passions: I love being around kids and being able to teach something that has brought me so much joy. It lights me up.” Her 19+ years of teaching the third grade as well as instructing young hopefuls in competitive swimming at clinics around the country has given Kristy an effective arsenal of teaching tools.
In particular, Kristy focuses on demonstrating how to swim smarter – “free speed,” as she calls it. Use your body to your advantage. As a 6-foot breaststroker from the University of Georgia, she shares: “It’s all in the attention to the little details.” She likes to show athletes specific aspects of each stroke such as head positioning, streamline, shrugging their shoulders on breaststroke, and other drills and tips to make their swimming faster, easier and smarter. Kristy encourages swimmers to take notes at her clinics so that they can keep working on the techniques they’ve learned when they go back home.
In addition to the technical aspects of the strokes, Kristy brings an aspect of fun and excitement to her clinics. After only a moment with Kristy, you become engulfed in her enthusiasm for the sport and genuine desire to pass that along to the next generation. “The kids may not remember everything I tell them, but they will remember how I made them feel, and I want that to be a sense of fun and energy. I want them to take away a memory of learning while having fun.”
Kristy emphasizes that having fun and working through disappointment while competing in such a grueling sport is essential for young swimmers. She is often seen encouraging swimmers with injuries or those who are at a plateau. As always, she focuses on swimming smarter: “Find something to work on. They may not hit a best time, but what else can they work on? Turns, kicks, breathing, etc. They are winning the day by doing this. Their goal setting will be a bit different, but they need to celebrate the small successes.”
Celebrating big and small moments carries over into all aspects of life, not just in the water. Kristy preaches balance in all aspects of life. Swimmers spend much of the day with their face in the water and stay in their heads, so Kristy encourages her swimmers to try leaving swimming at the pool. Focusing on other things, like simply going on a walk or to the movies with friends when they’re not at practice or a meet can make all the difference. This will ultimately help the swimmers feel refreshed and maintain their love of the sport long after they finish their completive years.
Do you want your swimmer to experience a boost of joy and energy toward the greatest sport from an elite expert? Book Kristy today, and let her contagious enthusiasm for teaching others about the sport she loves help propel your swimmers to accomplish their goals.
Photos courtesy of Swimspire.