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article imageChatting with Ian Crocker: Five-time Olympic medalist and coach Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 18, 2019 in Sports
Austin - Ian Crocker is a five-time Olympic medalist swimmer and a former world record holder. He chatted with Digital Journal about his Olympic journey and his career as a coach at the Western Hills Athletic Club in Texas.
A three-time Olympian, Crocker serves as the Assistant Coach of the Western Hills Athletic Club in Austin, Texas. "I love it," he said. "I started getting into coaching in 2012. I started volunteering with the Women's Team at the University of Texas. A friend of mine, Jimmy Bynum, had started this club team and in 2015, he needed some help with it since it started to grow. I stopped volunteering and came over and started working with Jimmy. We have watched the team grow and we have had a lot of success."
"It has been really rewarding to be a part of something that is vibrant, healthy and growing," he added.
To learn more about the Western Hills Athletic Club, check out its official website.
Crocker was a native of Portland, Maine, and he won five Olympic medals for Team USA, which included three gold medals, one silver, and one bronze medal. "It was a lifelong dream, and I was really grateful to have the opportunity to do it. By the end of my swimming career, I was realizing more and more what I was doing served myself more than anybody else. What really makes me happy is helping other people. After the Beijing Olympics, I tried to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, and finally settled on coaching," Crocker said.
He continued, "Coaching is the best use of the knowledge and the skills that I've developed. More than anything, I get to help young people strive for their goals and have healthy goals. That's the most rewarding thing I could imagine doing."
Crocker shared that he was a part of Josh Davis' Breakout Swim Clinic from 2009 to 2018. "Initially, when I started doing the clinics regularly for Josh [Davis], it was one of the things that helped me realize that my knowledge in the sport is what I have to give back. It also helped me realize that I enjoy working with the younger generation of swimmers, as well as trying to find new ways to teach and to be creative and keeping their attention," he said.
"Ultimately, when you are doing those clinics you have four hours to capture the attention and the inspiration of these young kids. You need to be on point and not waste a minute. That helped shape my desire to become a coach and how to coach as well. I am so grateful that I have known Josh Davis over the years, and he gave me the opportunity to do all those clinics. I love Josh's showmanship," Crocker added.
Crocker acknowledged that being able to race the world's fastest swimmer, Michael Phelps, consistently for a number of years defined his swimming career more than anything.
Advice for hopefuls who wish to pursue swimming
His advice for young swimmers is as follows: "Make sure that your dreams are your dreams. Don't swim and put all this effort into something because you think that other people want you to do it. Swimming is too hard of a sport to do for somebody else."
"The happiest and most successful swimmers for the long term are the ones who do it because they love the sport and they enjoy getting faster. They don't compare themselves to other people, and they are just trying to be better than they have been in the past," he explained.
Crocker also complimented national and world champion swimmer Michael Andrew. "Michael has been an amazing talent to watch, and it is interesting how his family has rallied around him to help him be as successful as he is. Michael seems to be grounded in his family and his faith," Crocker said. "Long after Michael hangs up his racing suit, those are the things that are going to be more important than anything he does in the water."
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on the sport of swimming, Crocker said, "Ever since I was a kid, I always wondered how much faster could people go through the water. We constantly get people like Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel that redefine what fast is. In order to keep that trend going, we need the technologies for training and stroke technique."
Crocker shared that they do some above water filming with his students with the help of phones and iPads. "Mostly, we go by above water footage or our own eyes," he said.
For his loyal fans that were a part of his Olympic journey, he said, "I am honored that they were there watching and paying attention. I hope they will pay just as much attention to the young kids that I am working with and helping them do something that is greater than what I was doing when I was swimming."
Crocker defined the word success as "Contributing to something that is not just about you, and has meaning." "For me, personally, it is helping people, and I feel I get to help people through the lens of swimming," he said.
For more information on five-time Olympic medalist swimmer Ian Crocker, follow him on Twitter.
More about Ian Crocker, Olympic, Michael phelps, USA, Swimmer
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