Coach Kristen on Swimming Long and Her Upcoming Adventures!

One of my favorite things as a coach is getting to learn new things.  This year has and will be full of adventurous learningCertified Elite Triathalon Coach Kristen Smith.  Earlier in the year, I had the privilege to take over the LMSC Coaches Chair for North Carolina under US Master’s Swimming.  I hope to bring coaches together so we can continue to learn from each other and to grow the USMS population.  I was also chosen to attend the National USMS Convention towards the end of this year.  The USMS Convention is held as part of the annual US Aquatic Sports convention, together with USA Swimming, USA Diving, USA Synchronized Swimming, and USA Water Polo.  The week before this convention, I’ll be wrapping up our annual Swim The Loop open water event!  


The month of September might be coming, but when it does, it will be over before I know it.  I’ll be off in Europe cheering on Jenny and Coach Sami as they take on Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria.  A couple of days after that, Jenny and I will  hop a few countries and end up in Sweden where we’ll get to tackle the SwimRun World Championships called Ö till Ö.  Once we get back from our races and travels, it will be Swim The Loop time!


Swim The Loop is really an awesome, unique swim.  I’ve swam many places, and this loop does present it’s challenges but always leaves you with the satisfaction of completing a hard swim.  I swam laps for so many years of my life so one  giant loop is a nice change of scenery.  Besides, it’s neat to swim through 4 different waterways during the same swim 🙂  The crowd is always awesome, and the post-race celebration is also always a good time.  Swimming open water really brought back my passion for the water.


Saying I love the water would be an understatement.  It all really started when I moved here (Wilmington) in 2007.  Growing up a swimmer, I was 100% used to the nice, clear water and that perfectly laid out black path on the bottom of the pool.  Jumping into the open water (first time was intracoastal) was a bit of a shock to me because as soon as you open your eyes underwater you see murky brown/blue/green water.  There definitely wasn’t a black line to follow, and seeing the bottom was out of the question.  I quickly learned that the only way I was going to get from point A to point B was to use my surroundings above water and to look often as I noticed how easily it was to get pushed around from the wind and tide.  From that point on, I wanted to explore the open waters.  


Over the next several years, I dabbled in ocean rescue (OR for life!), freediving, diving, SUP, pronin’, surfing, spearfishing, and a few other fun open water activities.  I really enjoy the water and all the things it teaches you.  Respect, patience, and time…  you give the open water those 3 things and you’ll understand and enjoy it too.  The great thing about where we live is that you can pretty much stay in the open water year round!

Once September rolls around and all my travels are done, I plan on slowing down a bit and working on some of my continuing ed classes.  I plan on getting my level 2 in USMS swimming, even though I should probably already have it.  Level 2 is all about strokes 🙂  It should be a good refresher since I’ve been swimming so much freestyle these days.