All my life, I have been a swimmer. I have participated on a recreational, competitive, and an elite level, but, recently, the tables turned. I became the one directing and carrying out practices. I became the face kids looked forward to seeing every day.

I began coaching two years ago for a summer league swim team. The team allows any kid and any teen, ages 5-18, to swim and experience the unity of swimming. Although coaching is technically work, I would never refer to it that way. Coaching was an amazing experience that has brought me so much joy. Each morning, Monday thru Friday, the swimmers would jump out of their mom’s car and sprint through the gate with the biggest smiles on their faces. These huge smiles were what got me through the morning. Just knowing how happy they were to come to practice made me ecstatic. I knew, at that moment, that I was a part of something bigger than me, and it was my duty to make their summer worthwhile.

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The past two summers, I have realized how much the kids look up to and admire me. After each season, I have received emails from parents about their child’s progress. The little ones had so much fun with me, their family made the decision to continue with the sport on a year-round club team. The kids have adopted a love for the sport and I have never felt more accomplished.

Carolyn Postell lives in Sugar Hill with her parents and two younger sisters. She is a junior at North Gwinnett High School. Her interests include writing and spending time with her friends.