Dive In With Both Feet

Swim Team Begins Year With New Coach

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Photo courtesy of Sonya Cookson

Senior and captain of the swim team Kamryn Kramer swims a lap at the first swim meet on Thursday. Amid the new experiences of leading the team and having a new swim coach with Les Greenwood, Kramer says she most enjoys the social aspect of swim. “Everyone’s best friends,” Kramer said. “I’m a captain of the swim team, and I love being a leader where everyone’s friends and being goofy and silly with them at the meets too. The [competitive aspect of] meets are really fun, getting up for each other.”

Jaden Kolenbrander, Reporter

Coming off a boy’s state appearance, the swim team is beginning another year with a change: Les Greenwood is the new swimming and water polo coach, replacing Josh Geisinger.

Greenwood started his coaching career in San Jose, California. Greenwood taught lessons for six years for an organization called Swim America. From there, he received his certification from the American Swimming Coaches Association and a USA Swimming Coach certification before teaching for various organizations in California to prepare student athletes for local to international-level competitions. According to Greenwood, the biggest lesson he’s learned from coaching students is the care and dedication it requires to nurture the skill set of kids.

“Child development is a tricky thing,” Greenwood said. “Until [you’re] 25 or 26 years old, you’re in the process of developing, and it can be very complicated for the social rules, just learning that. And then throw academics on top of that, and throw a highly competitive sport on top of that. There are a lot of challenges and a lot of work done in balancing those three things.”

With the new opportunities available for the swim team, including water polo’s introduction as a UIL sport, Greenwood will coach at the same time as swim, and for Greenwood to meet his new athletes, Greenwood says he hopes to develop a culture around swim that delivers results for both the team’s success and the well-being of its individual members.

“I’ve learned that students and athletes crave consistency,” Greenwood said. “A coach that establishes themselves as someone who has a moral and ethical code, as someone who has a belief in rule-following, and develops a culture around accountability tends to get great results over time. It comes down to the right mixture of consistency and compassion, and ultimately, accountability is what helps athletes maximize their potential. It’s less about me holding them accountable, than showing them the tools available to them to hold themselves accountable.”

The culture of accountability manifests during swim practices where, for example, Greenwood will make students repeat swim exercises if they were not done correctly the first time.

“He says a lot that if you’re not doing it right, we will start over,” senior and captain of the swim team Kamryn Kramer said. “He is the water polo coach and swim coach, [so he is] definitely working hard. He sees a lot of potential in us, [and] he’s very ambitious.”

Freshman Alexandra Fisher says she is excited to participate in swim meets and travel for competitions in her first year as a high school athlete.

“I like the thrill of the race,” Fisher said. “I [also] have a lot of friends in swim, and I love hanging out with them. I’m excited about swim meets and getting to drive to far places to go to swim meets.”

Leaders of the swim team, like Kramer, also say the social aspect of swim is another feature to look out for this year.

“Everyone’s best friends,” Kramer said. “I’m a captain of the swim team, and I love being a leader where everyone’s friends and being goofy and silly with them at the meets too. The [competitive aspect of] meets are really fun, getting up for each other.”

Easing into the job of coaching both swim and water polo, Greenwood says a priority of his time coaching is to give athletes the resources they need to become successful by themselves.

“I’m excited to become a part of the Cedar Park family,” Greenwood said. “It seems as if there is a very strong community here, both on the academics side and the athletics side. I’m there to provide athletes with a pathway to find the level of success that they want. You offer them opportunities to train hard and work hard, but ultimately it’s up to the athlete to grab the ball and run with it.”