Coach Jenna Miller – An Interview

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Coach Jenna Miller – An Interview

Compiled by Caelia Allen, Staff Writer

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Q1: How did the hurricane affect the season?

A1: Hurricane Florence shortened our season tremendously. We had six regular season meets scheduled for this season and three of them had to be cancelled due to the storm and school being closed. Our Regional Championship meet also had to be cancelled this year. With so many meets being cancelled, our swimmers had fewer opportunities to achieve State Qualifying Times, so that hurt our State Team numbers quite a bit. However, the six swimmers that did qualify for State Championships still managed to swim personal bests in at least one event and score very valuable points!

Q2: What is the best part of being the swimming coach?

A2: The best part about being a swim coach, especially for Carolina Forest, is having the opportunity to give back to a team that has given so much to me. I am a CFHS alumni and swam for the same team during my four years as a Panther. I was welcomed with such open arms and was truly made a part of the Panther Swimming family, and my goal as a coach is to make every athlete that steps on our pool deck feel the same way– that they, too, are a part of a family. Seeing the student-athletes building relationships, hanging out together outside of practice, and becoming such close friends all because they swim together for this team is beyond awesome!

Q3: What are the difficulities that come with being a coach?

A3: One major difficulty that most area coaches faced this year was simply finding pool space. We are becoming incredibly limited in regards to facilities, so it was hard to find somewhere that will let us practice. The same applies for meets. We host the largest high school meet in South Carolina (the Ripley’s Invitational) which has brought in nearly 450 competitors in years passed. However, facilities are strictly limiting the number of participants that can be on deck, so this year our meet only had about 225 swimmers. I would love nothing more than to bring in as many swimmers to our team and meets as possible, but we just have to work with what we have been blessed with.

Q4: How many swimmers are on the team?

A4: This year we had a total of 31 swimmers on the team, combining guys and girls teams.

Q5: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a coach?

A5: I think that one of my greatest strengths as a coach is my experience in the sport. I have been swimming for 17 years and competed on the national and global stages, so I know what it takes to get to high caliber meets and how to get my athletes there. I also build strong relationships with my swimmers on the foundation of respect and trust. Sometimes my athletes will groan and “hee-haw” about a set, but ultimately, they know I am trying to help them and that there is a reason behind the madness! I would say one of my weaknesses is preparation. I always have a workout in my head, but rarely have it written down before practice starts. I’ll usually scribble it down as the team is warming up, so I could probably work on having it written down earlier.

Q6: How has coaching affected your life?

A6: Coaching has affected my life in countless ways. It has given me a new perspective on the duties of a swim coach and has made me respect my current and former coaches even more than I already have/did. It has also granted me the opportunity to build relationships with students across multiple schools and of all ages and help mold them into leaders.

Q7: How do you balance coaching and teaching?

A7: Essentially, you learn to become a master scheduler and make time for everything…oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee. A typical practice day for me involves waking up at 3:45am to get my own workout in, school, snacktime with my dog, high school team practice and then grading/planning/winding down until 11:45pm-12:30am. Is it rough? Yes. Do I have sleepy days? Absolutely. But if you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it work!

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