To omit any human element from your training approach is to treat yourself as a robot which can absorb and adapt to any stimulus you give it. But since most of us aren’t robots (when not on the dance floor), we need a little more subjective analysis coming in. That’s where coaching comes into play. The majority of the benefits you can get from a coach are the understanding, rapport, and regular communication to see that the training you do matches your life, ability, motivation, schedule, goals, etc.

At Cascade Endurance we have five different coaches on call to work with clients of all different needs. Over the next few blog posts we’ll introduce these coaches to you and offer a look at what makes the tick and how they can turn their skills and general awesomeness toward helping you with your fitness and racing goals. 

In this first installment of our Meet the Coaches series, we introduce Laura Nelson, a former competitive junior and collegiate swimmer whose lifelong expertise in the water has helped countless individuals hone their swimming skills or develop them for the first time. Laura’s enthusiasm and infectious joy for the water is clear the moment you meet her, and she has happily shared that passion with swimmers of all ages in the Northwest.

CE: What drew you to swimming?

Laura: I've been swimming since I was a little kid and I always just loved being in the water. As I got older, I stuck with the sport because I really enjoyed it. I liked the mix of being part of a team but really having to push yourself individually.

CE: How have you struck a balance between being a competitor and a lifelong enthusiast of the sport? 

Laura: It can be a hard transition to go from the thrill of competition and associated goals to just swimming for the sake of swimming. After a little time off I found that I really appreciated swimming for how it helps me clear my head and how good I feel after a workout. Besides, I love being in the water and swimming for exercise means that lake playtime is that much more fun.

CE: What is the primary missing link most people present in their swimming? 

Laura: Efficiency and feel. I think most competitive swimmers would describe having a feel for the water, for how to pull and really work with the water instead of fight against it. It takes a long time to develop that feel and efficiency, and without it people expend a lot of energy in movement that ultimately does not propel them forward.

CE: What is your greatest asset as a coach?

Laura: I've spent a lot of time in the water myself, but probably my best asset as a coach is that I am an educator.I worked in experiential education for years with kids of all ages which means I have patience and practice in coming up with alternate explanations if my initial answer doesn't get the job done. 

CE: For a developing swimmer looking to compete in triathlons, what's the first thing you look for in their abilities/training?

Laura: Helping them to improve their technique. It will become easier to swim longer distances and get the swimming strength base if you're doing it with the right form. Swimming can also be a tough mental game for triathletes who struggle with that leg, I'd like to help people change it from a leg they are just trying to get through to one that they are excited for in the competition.  

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