In this guest blog, MySwimPro community member Laura Kokesh shares how MySwimPro has helped her keep improving and stay motivated through the ups and downs of life and training. Based near San Antonio, Texas, USA, Laura is 51 and works as a swim coach and nanny.
My Swimming Background
I got to try almost every sport and activity as a child. Through it all, the only one I stuck with was swimming. I started competing at age 7, and I was so fortunate that my mom had been a swimmer as a child, so she knew the benefits and worked very patiently with me to ensure I enjoyed the sport and stuck with it.
I left swimming for a couple years in high school, and I went through a really tough time. I started swimming again my senior year, and it was so hard because I was so out of shape. I learned a lot through this experience, and I truly feel that swimming put me back together again. I continued to swim throughout college and afterward. It has kept me healthy through several surgeries and other life events. Swimming has helped me build great discipline and physical and mental fitness. It is my lifeline!
I started coaching in 2007 through several local swim organizations, including my local school district. In 2015, I left the corporate world to be a nanny. I have always loved kids, and I decided to start my own business as a nanny and swim coach.
My coaching skills have been very beneficial to my nanny role – I have always offered lessons to the kids I watch, and many of the kids I have taught have become successful with teams. It’s so rewarding to see the kids I coach continue to swim through adulthood.
Finding Community with MySwimPro
Before I found MySwimPro, I swam with a local Masters team when it worked with my schedule. When it did not, I made up my own workouts, but honestly, I just did whatever I wanted over and over again. I was not improving my swimming unless I was consistent with Masters. On my own, I was not even measuring my success – not timing myself or challenging myself. I was just doing what I needed to do to stay healthy.
MySwimPro has helped me feel like I have a future with swimming. The app gives me solid information on how to reach my goals – I was guessing before. Before, I felt like I had reached my peak, but now I feel like I have a future of different types of goals to keep me active and excited.
I track my swims with my Garmin 735XT smartwatch, and print my workouts from the MySwimPro app to bring to the pool with me.
I love the training videos in the app and on MySwimPro’s Facebook page – they’re extremely helpful. I have learned a lot from Whiteboard Wednesday, too. The Global Community Group is really supportive, and I like that swimmers of all skill levels post – we all seem to support and learn from each other.
My Swimming Goals
If my schedule allows me to swim with Masters again, I would really like to do that. I get the best results when I swim with a coach and am surrounded by swimmers of all skill levels. I originally wanted to compete with Masters when I turned 50 – Senior Masters – but I recently had a big surgery that has set me back a little. Right now, I am rebuilding strength and training with specific drills to achieve my own personal records again.
I do want to swim for the rest of my life. I get nervous when I think about swimming ever being taken away from me (like it was when I had surgery and when the pools were closed). I NEED to swim.
Coaching the Next Generation
As a coach, there is nothing more beautiful and powerful than believing in a child and seeing them believe in themselves!
I once watched a coach look a young child directly in the eyes and tell him in a stern voice, “I believe in you!” and I was so impressed by the conviction that I started using it with my students.
I take it a step further and have them look me in the eye and say, “I believe in me.” I also have them raise their arms in the air and say, “I’m a superstar” when they succeed at whatever I asked of them. Fortunately, one of my students’ mother is a photographer, so I have much of it captured on video and in photos.
My own training helps me with coaching, too. When I am struggling with a new goal, it helps me understand what my students are feeling and how to motivate them.
My Tips for Swimmers
- Be your own best coach. Set reasonable goals and always cheer yourself on.
- Share your experiences with other swimmers. It will enrich you and them.
- Compliment the swimmer in the next lane. You will always be making their day. We are our own worst critics, and compliments go a long way to remind us to believe in ourselves.
- Share your passion with a child. For safety and for fun, everyone needs to swim!
- Seek performance feedback and study technique online. You can always improve!
Keep up with Laura’s swimming journey in the MySwimPro Global Community Facebook Group!