The summer months don’t always mean coaches can take a breather. It’s Tuesday, June 26, and Tracy Menzel ’09, assistant coach for the Lords and Ladies swim teams, is on day four of her third week directing a series of youth camps at the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC). During her collegiate days, Menzel, a native of Greencastle, Indiana, was a 16-time All-American and a two-time NCAA champion in the 100-yard breaststroke.
5 a.m. I’ve been getting up early for morning practice most of my life, but 5 a.m. always seems to come too soon. I press snooze on my alarm and pet my dog, George Washington (a Boston terrier) for a bit before getting out of bed. I start the coffee and take a shower.
5:20 a.m. I make cold oats in a jar to take for breakfast. It’s rolled oats, frozen mixed berries, chia seeds and almond milk. I got the idea from the mom of one of our swimmers, who has a vegan cooking show on YouTube.
5:35 a.m. I arrive at the KAC pool. Hannah Saiz ’13, our volunteer assistant who is also working camps, is already here and setting out workouts and prepping the pool.
6 a.m. Practice starts. At this point, I’ve only seen most of our campers swim freestyle. Today I get to see their talents in other strokes.
7:30 a.m. Practice ends. We meet briefly with the campers and send them to breakfast with the counselors.
7:50 a.m. I go to the indoor track, set up my yoga mat and put my YogaGlo app to use. I love that my job involves interacting with students, but I need some quiet time every day to recharge.
8:30 a.m. I grab my computer and my breakfast and head into our stroke technique lecture. Steve Jungbluth, assistant coach at University of Florida, is presenting on relay starts. I take notes on how he interprets angular velocity to apply to the arm swing in relay starts.
9:30 a.m. I leave the lecture early to set up our data recording sheets on the pool deck. As the camp director, I am in charge of making sure everything happens on time throughout the day.
9:45 a.m. Coaches, counselors and campers come on deck and we start our “3 T Circuit,” which is technique, training and testing. I enjoy demonstrating for the campers and giving them feedback.
10:30 a.m. We switch stations and now I am timing power rack, a 12.5-second weight-resisted sprint.
11:15 a.m. We switch stations again and now I am recording time, tempo and stroke count for the 4 x 25s.
12 p.m. We finish up the 3 T Session and I go to lunch at Peirce Hall. I head for the vegetarian station, where I put a base of spinach on my plate and then get some bean enchiladas, rice and a tomato-cucumber salad.
1 p.m. Technique lecture, this time a Q&A with Steve and the campers.
1:45 p.m. This afternoon is one of my favorite parts of camp – 4 x 25 from a dive, where each camper gets one-on-one feedback from a coach. It allows me to do all of my favorite things about coaching: Create a connection with the student, praise their strengths and challenge them to find a way to be better.
4 p.m. We wrap up the last 3 T session 30 minutes late. Our coaches and counselors look relieved. They have worked hard the past three weeks and we are almost to the end. I give the campers the option of doing dryland work with me or going up to the dorms with the counselors. I am surprised when more than half stay.
5:30 p.m. Pizza party in the basement of Old Kenyon.
6:15 p.m. Our evening lecture begins. Head Coach Jess Book ’01 is presenting on growth mindset and performance.
7:45 p.m. The lecture ends and we announce to the campers that they get to sleep in tomorrow an extra 30 minutes. They are excited (the coaches and counselors even more so). I go home to the McIlvaine Place Apartments. George Washington greets me at the door and immediately wants to play. My husband, Kevin, is making pizza and a salad for dinner. We eat and catch up on the day.
8:45 p.m. Bedtime. I am currently reading a book on motor skill learning, “Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition: An Introduction.” I read for about 20 minutes and then turn the lights out to fall asleep.