Erin Hurley: "Ultimately, our experience depends on theirs..."

At the 2016 CSCAA Convention in May, Erin Hurley was awarded the Richard E. Steadman award.  The honor is awarded to the coach who has done the most to spread happiness in swimming and diving.  Many attendees were moved by Coach Hurley's remarks and asked for them to be re-published.

I am so very grateful to be receiving this honor. When I looked at the list of coaches who were previous award recipients, it was pretty overwhelming.  

I want to thank the CSCAA and its members who work tirelessly to help promote the sport of swimming in an inclusive and student experience-enhancing way. It’s of great value to have the CSCAA recognize the work we are all doing to foster the ideals of Coach Steadman and to bring a sense of enjoyment to the sport experience.

I also think it is important for us to recognize the key ingredient to our success in this endeavor… the student-athlete. We help our student-athletes define what they want, define their goals, determine what drives them, what they need to go from Point A to Point B.

We work in unison toward those goals and share the process along the way. Our teamwork creates some ownership for us as coaches, but more importantly it generates buy-in, ownership and empowerment on the part of the student-athlete.

We might guide and design a plan on how to help them get there, but it is important to realize no matter what the plan, how truly genius the plan… it is still their experience.

We probably all agree that swimmers do their best when they are happy. Swimming can be fun, swimming well… IS …fun. The joy in their faces after meeting the goals of a monster set, a personal best, a championship win, these moments create some of the best years of their lives.

As they strive for what they want and experience the ups and downs along the way…whether we know it or not… we help them develop a perspective of where swimming fits into their lives.

  • It’s important, but not easy, to remind them and show them that swimming is something they do and is it not entirely who they are.
  • It’s important, but not easy, to encourage them to be in the present… to remind them to take a moment to be thankful and grateful for their teammates, their competition, and their opportunities to participate.

Regardless of the accolades and achievements they receive… or that they fall short of… we watch them learn and grow. We see how these experiences contribute to their development and growth as productive and passionate human beings.

Each time we witness an extraordinary effort… determination… will power… an act of sportsmanship, gratitude, or selflessness…we share in the joy, the purpose, and happiness these experiences inevitably bring.

Ultimately, our experience as coaches depends on theirs, and we are reminded how coaching student-athletes can bring out the best in all of us.

Thank you so very much.