ST. JOHNS – It had only been a few days since Lauren Huss finished up her swim coach duties for St. Johns County Summer Swim League. Yet, she was already anxious to start working again.
Luckily, she has a new role and won’t have to wait until next summer to coach again
“I’m really excited to get to work,” said Huss, who is Beachside’s girls swimming head coach. “I’ve only had a week off and I can’t wait to get back to it.”
She expects many of the athletes she coached during the summer league to try out for her team this year – a tradition she plans to establish and continue as she resumes her duties as the swim league coach.
The summer league has helped her start constructing the foundation of her new program but she still has a lot of work to do.
The Record caught up with Huss to chat about her new role, expectations and her swim career at Bartram.
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ML: How has your time as a summer swim coach impacted your rapport with St. Johns County athletes?
LH: I have a really good relationship with a lot of the kids. I’m the youngest and they all feel like my younger siblings. We have really good rapport. They trust me and I believe in them. That’s like everything to being a good coach.
Swimming is one of those sports where I can’t draw up the play to make you faster. You have to believe in yourself and put in the work and you will be faster. Essentially, at this age they know how to do it. It’s whether or not they go out there and do it. It’s not like I can draw up an inbounds play that gets us the shot at the buzzer.
ML: What are your goals for your program?
LH: My main goal is to set up a program that kids want to come back to. More than being like, these are my expectations for winning and losing, I want to have kids that want to be there everyday. And at the end of the season, they don’t go “Hmm, I don’t want to come back to that.
I want to set up relationships and set up traditions that make swimming fun. Because swimming is not the most fun sport. You’ve got to be super dedicated. You don’t even get to talk while you’re practicing because your head is underwater. When I was in high school, that’s what kept bringing me back was the traditions, the relationships and the friendships — not that “Oh my god, we’re beating everyone and we’re so successful.”
ML: What makes a great coach and program?
LH: You have to have kids that buy into you as a coach and then buy into their own process. That just comes from actually caring about every single kid. I’m not going to spend my whole time looking at the kids that are going to take us to states or whatever. I want to focus on each swimmer, individually, and what they need.
I think that it’s important that this kid feels left out and that this kid feels more or less important based on their performance. That just comes from having individualized relationships and advice for each of them and their swimming. We want to make sure every kid in the pool feels like we care about them.
ML: Talk to me about your high school career at Bartram. How was it and how did it impact your coaching?
LH: I can’t think of something I remember so fondly. I didn’t make regionals, I didn’t make states, I didn’t have medals. I didn’t have records. I just loved it for the tradition and the culture. And I just loved working hard. I want to do this for the kids who were like me. I wasn’t like a star but everyone still respected me. I was still the captain and I was not close to the fastest kid on the team.
ML: What are your expectations?
There is a lot of interest and St. Johns County is a huge swimming county. I’m definitely looking forward to it. And I think that Beachside will be able to keep up with the other powerhouse teams in the county. Hopefully immediately, but we’ll see how it shapes out.