Shawna Weaver is in her third year as head coach of the Shaker boys’ swimming and diving team. She is also currently the head coach of the Burnt Hills-Scotia Glenville swimming and diving team. The Burnt Hills graduate is finishing up her masters in occupational therapy and plans to work as an occupational therapist as well as coach.
Q: Is there an event or a stroke you prefer and why?
A: The 200 freestyle is one of my favorite events and was one of my main events in high school. I love coaching athletes on how to swim it because it’s not like the 50 free, but it’s not like the 500. The 200 is considered a sprint but in a different way. There’s a certain way to swim it smart and I think that makes it fun.
Q: What characteristics do all successful athletes have in common?
A: I think all successful athletes have in common that they are driven, focused, hardworking, kind, and coachable. Besides being able to put in the work I think it’s important for athletes to be able to adapt and fix little things that their coach helps them with. You don’t have to be the best athlete on the team to be the most successful. Being a good teammate goes a long way and I think all successful athletes have a way of showing leadership to the rest of the team.
Q: It’s been said swimming uses all the muscles in the body. Are there training methods you employ that is different than athletes participating in other sports? Or, what is the most effective method of training for a swimmer?
A: Swimming uses a lot of different muscles in the body that aren’t regularly used, that is for sure. We don’t have “different” training methods, but we do have days set to specific training method. We’ll do endurance, sprint work, lactate, and then taper at the end of our season. Strength and power are worked into our season as well in and out of the pool.
Q: What do you try to teach your athletes outside of how to properly do the butterfly or other fundamentals of swimming. In other words, what life lessons would you like to see students take away from participating in athletics?
A: I’m terms of life lessons, one of the biggest is to be kind to everyone around you. Being a good teammate is something that will carry with them outside of swimming. Along with being kind, having good sportsmanship is important to me. Being able to put competition aside and say great job to your friend regardless of the outcome is an admirable trait to have. Being part of a team environment is why most people join. Watching your friends swim fast, and drop time as well as cheering for them is one of the greatest things. Working hard, and being resilient are the other two key life lessons I hope that they get from swimming. Putting in the work in and out of the pool shows them that they’re dedicated and this can be translated to school work, jobs, etc. after a tough race being resilient is another main thing taught on my team because we talk about how it went, what could’ve gone better, and then we move on to improve those things next time. Being able to bounce back and self-evaluate is something that they can take with them in future life situations.
Q: There have been a few swimmers who have captured America’s attention. Who is your favorite — alive or dead, active or retired — and if you were to have lunch what would you talk about?
A: That’s a tough question. I think that one of my favorite swimmers is Katie Ledecky. A lot of people know who she is, but she is a 10-time Olympic medalist. Katie is always seen being a great teammate, and someone who younger kids can look up to. She is always shown as a good sport and I think that’s a really positive trait for her to showcase to the world. Katie is a distance swimmer and that takes a lot of training to do. If I were to have lunch with her I would talk to her about how she got into swimming, and what her favorite set is.
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