Meet the Coaches
Coach Jeff Stride
I grew up in San Jose, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. I attended Cupertino HS, which is not all that special or well known, but it was just a few blocks from the home base of Apple. My family was inspired by Mark Spitz in the 1972 Olympics and it led me to join Santa Clara Swim Club where he and other Olympians swam. I had a swimming pool in the townhome complex where I lived and so I was able to virtually live in the water all summer long. All my friends were swimmers; all my social activities were swimming related; I was a swimmer through and through, green hair and all.
I started coaching swimming (and water polo) at my alma mater at the age of just 17. I didn't coach for long before academics and my own athletic endeavors took over. It took me another 20 years before I returned to coaching at Gold's Aquatics in Woodinville, where I have been coaching for about 8 years now. I am proud to still be coaching there today. I spend most of my time working with kids 9-13 years old, but I have plenty of experience working with the older kids as well.
I spent two years as a direct apprentice to Joel Engle, one of the past coaches at Gold's Aquatics, and a 30 year coaching veteran. He taught me a lot about creativity and the application of proper swimming instruction. I also find myself learning from the Head Coach at Gold's, Tom Wunderlich, on a continual basis. Becoming a great coach is a lifelong journey, and becoming a better coach is a daily activity.
I have 3 rules that all my swimmers know.
- Listen to the coach.
- Try your hardest.
- Have fun.
My philosophy as a coach on the deck embody the above three rules, but also two very important things:
- Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes habit. Therefore...
- Do it right, or do it over.
My practices for the younger kids are goal oriented where we focus on learning a particular swimming technique. Conditioning can sometimes be the focus, but often it comes as a side effect of pursuing a swimming technique. Of course, the goals we pursue and the drills we employ vary greatly depending on the age and experience of the swimmer. Regardless, my time on deck is always intensely packed with activity as I strive to positively impact each swimmer during each practice.
My Swimming Career
I swam my heart out as a kid, rising to national rankings as a 10 year-old in the 100 meter backstroke, but I also burned out on the intense two hour practices. I took a few years off of swimming and rejoined in high school, swimming and playing water polo seasonally. I was able to place at States and achieve several high school records, two of which still stand to this day (100 Back and 400 Free Relay).
I attended DeAnza Community College which happened to have a terrific swimming and water polo program. Our team was able to put together a 400 Medley relay that, at the time, ranked nationally among community colleges. At the time, I thought quite highly of myself, especially after winning first place at States. Now that I am way more informed I realize that the truly great swimmers didn't swim at the community college level. Nevertheless, I still have two swimming records at DeAnza (100 Back and 400 Medley Relay).
I went on to swim for Brown University. It was uneventful, non-glorious, and I'm always reluctant to even bring it up. Such are the ways of life.
From there, I did masters swimming for many years, including at UCSB where I went to get my Masters degree and meet my wife. I placed nationally as a masters swimmer for a while, but this really was not a big accomplishment. The truly great swimmers my age were in USA Swimming, not masters. Still, it stroked my ego for a bit. I know better, now. :-)
I don't swim anymore, at least not in the water. My days go swimmingly. I swim in my head. And, many days, I feel like I'm treading water. But, I get my swimming fix in clothes, on deck. I see great swimmers every day, and some truly phenomenal swimmers on a regular basis. I was never one of those guys. My days of delusion are over.
The Person Jeff
You can read more about me here.