Returning to my roots

Picture this: eight-year-old KJ, hanging on the pool deck at the end of a lane, staring up at my swim coach and trying desperately to figure out how to do the drill she was explaining.

I adored my swim coaches growing up. I just wanted to be like them. They knew so much, cared so much, and were just the coolest. Our head coach instituted a “Junior Coach” program, which meant that when swimmers turned 13, we were able to prepare, interview, and learn to be a coach – obviously I jumped at that opportunity after dreaming of joining summer after summer.

After coaching swimming every summer for nine years, I entered the “real world” and gone was that creative outlet. When I found triathlon, I jumped at the opportunity to coach swimming with the Oakland Triathlon Club, but then the “real world” caught up with me again and I had to stop due to conflicting schedules.

Two and a half years ago, I almost lost my involvement in endurance sport due to “real world” commitments – I learned that lesson quickly, and jumped back in. While you can’t truly “coach” yourself, you sure can train yourself. And in the process, make a whole bunch of mistakes and find a whole bunch of good strategy.

In 2019, I decided I would pursue the USA Triathlon Level 1 Coaching Certification – and then in 2020, the world decided to flip upside down. Despite that, USAT offered virtual training, and I was able to push up my session by almost a month and a half. And as of this week, I’m considered officially ‘certified’ by USAT as a Level 1 triathlon coach!

Far beyond the paperwork, I find coaching to be the most rewarding and exciting way to work with people. At the end of the day, we’re all still the same kids wanting to learn and grow and develop, and I’d love to be a part of your endurance sport team. You can always reach me at or via Instagram @swimcyclesprint.

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