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article imageMeet Teri McKeever: Olympic swimming and university coach Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 6, 2019 in Sports
Berkeley - On March 6, Olympic swimming and university coach Teri McKeever chatted with this journalist about her illustrious career as a coach. McKeever is the head coach of the women's swimming team at the University of California, Berkeley.
In November of 2018, McKeever was nominated for the coveted Golden Goggle award for "Coach of the Year." "It was an honor. Any time that you can be nominated and to be in that company with such great coaches is definitely an honor," she said, prior to praising the Golden Goggles for being a really "wonderful" event that celebrates the sport of swimming and the people that support it.
The Golden Goggle Awards are presented by the USA Swimming Foundation. "I love the USA Swimming Foundation's motto of building champions and the safety part of having more people learn how to swim," she said. "That's one of the things that is wonderful about our sport. It's a life skill, and it's not only for enjoyment but for health."
Each day, McKeever is motivated by her passion and drive for sports. "Sports is a wonderful vehicle for self-awareness, discover and excellence. I want to help myself and young women embark on that journey of discovering who they are as people and as athletes and working on the areas that we need to work on," she said.
Her advice for young swimmers is to "embrace the fundamentals and to embrace the joy of being in the water, your friendships and have fun."
Regarding the key to longevity as a swimming and diving coach, she said, "Finding something that you are passionate about that brings you joy and satisfaction and it makes you feel like you are making a difference. I feel like I am making a difference in some of these women's personal lives. Also, there is joy and satisfaction in being in the same institution for so long. All of these things keep me going."
Coach Teri McKeever
Coach Teri McKeever
Al Sermeno, KLC fotos
Coach McKeever was the head coach of the U.S. Olympic women's swimming team that competed in the Olympic Games in London in 2012. She was the first female coach in history to serve as the head coach of a women's national swimming team.
During her tenure at the university, McKeever has worked with 26 Olympians who have earned 36 medals at the Olympic level. In the fall of 2018, McKeever was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.
There have been several "little" moments that helped define her as a coach. "Natalie Coughlin taking a chance on a young coach and coming to Cal, and us being able to do some amazing things together. That was a turning point," she acknowledged. "Also, I developed more compassion and empathy for the things that I needed to continue to work on. Time has helped me be more comfortable in my own skin, and that has allowed great things to happen."
She credits her husband, Jerry, for being a great support system for her. "I am very fortunate that I found someone that supports this lifestyle, which has made me a better coach, a better daughter, and a better sister. It has been a really important part of who I am today," she said. "My husband does most of the cooking at home. I am very fortunate that he supports me in that way as well."
Her plans for 2019 with her women's swimming team include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship on March 20. "I want the team to perform at its best when it's required," she said. "Then, we will get a little break and start again," she said, with a sweet laugh.
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on swimming, McKeever said, "There is more technology than ever for the coaches and the athletes. Coaching is still a balance between relationships and information. Different people respond to more of one than the other. Technology is taking over everything. It has influenced all of our day-to-day life."
Speaking of technology, she complimented such world class swimmers as Cody Miller and Michael Andrew for raising awareness about the sport through their vlogs on YouTube. "They are very good at sharing the day-to-day things about swimming that most people are not aware of," she said.
McKeever defined the word success as "giving your best and doing your best day in and day out, especially when people are not watching."
For the fans and supporters of Team USA, the accomplished coach concluded, "Swimming is a great sport with some really exceptional young men and women that are very talented in and out of the pool."
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