Sea Shark coaches have dual roles in the summer
Sari Maneotis feels the eyes on her more than ever when she swims this summer.
It’s because after coaching swimmers for the Craig Sea Sharks all week, her pupils watch to see whether she practices what she preaches while competing.
“I definitely focus more on form now,” she said. “I’m sure if they saw something they’d point it out, but most of the time, they just like to cheer for their coach.”
Maneotis and Chris Compton, 2005 Moffat County High School graduates, are helping Marin Campbell with coaching duties this summer for the Sea Sharks. The recent graduates also compete in the pool when they aren’t coaching, and Campbell races mountain bikes in her time away from the pool. Because the trio competes in addition to coaching, it gives their athletes something to cheer about.
“On Thursdays, everybody wants to know how I did,” said Campbell, who races every other Wednesday in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge series. “When I do well, I’m excited to come to practice and tell them.”
Compton and Maneotis lead by example with their performances at swim meets. Compton has been the high point in his age group several times this summer, and Maneotis is part of the Junior Olympics-qualifying 400-meter freestyle relay team.
“(The swimmers) look up to them as being knowledgeable,” Campbell said. “It helps the kids to see that what the coaches say works because when (Chris and Sari) are out there swimming, they are usually doing well.”
Maneotis said she always looked up to the “big kids” when she was younger and likes the dynamic she has with her athletes.
“The big kids were always cool,” she said. “I think since we’re younger, they look up to us but they don’t see us as authority figures.”
Almost every weekend, the swimmers have a chance to see Compton or Maneotis in the pool.
“It adds extra incentive (to do well),” Maneotis said. “It also helps break up spending the entire day at the meet.”
During the week, Campbell’s days consist of waking up at about 5 a.m., driving to Craig for practice and returning to Steamboat, where she trains on her bike once or twice. She moved up from the sport division to the expert division this summer and has taken her racing more seriously.
“I actually feel better at (swim) practice these days because I’m in better shape,” said Campbell, who swam competitively in high school. “Thursdays can be a little rough sometimes though.”
By moving up a division in biking, Campbell said she has a more competitive mindset when she’s riding than she had in the past. When she comes to swim practice, she has to remind herself that she’s no longer biking.
“I have to tone it down a bit because when I’m on my bike I always want to win,” she said. “When I’m here at the pool, I have to remind myself that it’s summer club, and the kids are here to have fun.”
Today, the day before the A-B-C Swim Meet in Craig, all three coaches will be in the pool with the swimmers.
“It is a chance to have fun and play some games with us,” Campbell said. “The kids like to see us in the pool.”
The two rookie coaches said they’ve learned to respect the coaching profession by being on the other side.
“When I’m being coached, I try to listen more now because I see what it’s like when they don’t listen,” Maneotis said.
“You realize how much of a troublemaker you were when you are coaching,” Compton said.
Campbell, who coached both swimmers, has been telling them this all along.
“Now they know how annoying it is when their swimmers want to be punks,” she said.
But for the most part, coaching is all about teaching youngsters and helping them get excited for the sport.
“Sometimes I’m probably more excited for a swimmer than they are,” Campbell said. “I’m afraid I overwhelm them.”
Overwhelmed or not, the Sea Sharks can be sure that their coaches know what they’re talking about. And if not, there’s a slim chance they can out-swim them to prove them wrong.
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