Perry is our Adult Learn-To-Swim Head Coach at our Fort Worth Central/East TWU location. Today we interviewed him focusing on coaching, motivation and the atmosphere of Sigma.
Q: How and why did you become involved in the sport swimming?
A: I swam for fun as long as I remember. Started swimming for fitness because I hurt my elbow and could not do the sports I had done before.
Q: What do you hope your swimmers will learn from you?
A: How to enjoy the water and feel safe in it - I teach adults who don't know how to swim
Q: What does coaching the sport of swimming mean to you?
A: Coaching gives me to exceptional honor of watching people overcome fears and learn the joy of playing (or working) in the water.
Q: How did you stay motivated in the sport growing up, and how do you keep your swimmers motivated?
A: When I was a kid, we played at pools or ponds or water parks or the ocean, so motivation was not an issue. I find swimming laps far more boring so I either stay focused on a technique I want to learn or listen to an Audible book while I swim. I change up my sets and, probably most important, I remember why I'm there - to keep moving so I don't feel as old as I am. :-)
Q: What is your favorite thing about coaching the sport and your favorite thing about your swimmers?
A: Watching someone who has years of fear of the water (maybe near drowning experiences even) coming to the point where they no longer fear and begin to enjoy the water. I LOVE THOSE DAYS! My favorite thing about swimmers is that are here because they want to be here and are clear about what they want from the classes.
Q: Who do you think are one or more of the greatest swimmers ever and why?
A: I'll choose a guy who's even older than me, Johnny Weissmuller. He played Tarzan in very old movies and TV. Never lost a professional race... never. He swam 'old school' with is head out of the water and looking forward the entire time. It's the way people in my day learned to swim... by imitating the best... like we do with Michael or Katie today. BTW, they are much faster than Johnny even though was possible.
Q: What do you tell a young child that is afraid of the water at his/her first swim lesson and how do you try to make it less scary for them?
A: I point kids directly to Katie or Avery or Vegas or Edgar. For adults, I let them know that LOTS of adults don't know how to swim and that LOTS of adults fear the water and that we have a proven program backed by US Masters Swimming and that we'll respect their fear and help them meet their goals.
Q: How do you prepare a swimmer for his/her first USA swim meet?
A: I still haven't had an adult learn to swim swimmer go to her/his first USMS swim meet. Who will be the first I wonder...
Q: What is your favorite thing about being around your swimmers and the atmosphere of Sigma?
A: Love my fellow coaches - what great people. Love Andrew Ha - he has been such a fabulous addition to my life. My students are upbeat and hopeful and friendly and... lessons are my favorite schedule hour (OK, 4 hours) of my week.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not coaching?
A: Work, watch movies, swim or exercise, play with friends, listen to my son sing (JacksonChristenberry.com... check him out) and hang out with my favorite friend, Jean (my wife).