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COACH BAILEY INTERVIEW

Our own coach Bailey is interviewed by USA Swimming about his thoughts and coaching style at Club Wolverine.  The USA Swimming article follows a few notes about coach Bailey's coaching career.  The following is taken directly from his coaching bio on the CW website:

  Club Excellence Coaches Profile: Bailey Weathers

  http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=865&itemid=3305&mid=2430

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4/25/2011

 By Caitlin M. Foyt//Correspondent

 Name: Bailey Weathers

 Title: Head Coach at Club Wolverine, located in Ann Arbor, Mich.

 Background: This is my fourth year at Club Wolverine and I have been coaching since 1978.  I was a swimmer. I wasn't very competitive, as a lot of coaches are, and I started coaching a little bit in college and really enjoyed it. I was more of a distance swimmer and swam a bit of breaststroke. I grew up in North Carolina and worked for USA Swimming before coming to Club Wolverine.

 How large is your team?
Over the course of the year, we have between 450 and 500 kids.

 Coach to swimmer ratio?
It really depends on the group. In the younger groups, it's about 8 to 1. As they get older, that ratio spreads out to 21 to 1 during the school year. With collegiate groups and post grad groups, that drops down to 12-15:1.

 What is the weekly training schedule like at Club Wolverine?
With the high school and under kids, we're pretty unique in that we don't have facilities for morning training, so we do everything in the evening. Our pool time is a little late, 5:30 p.m. during the high school season. Where most clubs can start practice right after school, we're using collegiate pools (facilities at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University) so we're waiting for activities to be done. We'll usually go five afternoons in a week in practice. It's a little bit different than most clubs, I would think, where most high school kids are doing doubles two to three times a week.

 How would you describe your coaching style?
I'm pretty quiet generally, not really shouting at kids. I think it's different with every person, depending on each swimmer, but I'm pretty laid back generally.

 What is the most important role a swim coach plays on a team?
I think the single most important thing is teaching swimmers to be honest with themselves, with their efforts and the expectations based on that effort. Teaching them means that they're going to be successful no matter what level they're at and they're going to enjoy the sport, too.
 
What advice do you find yourself repeating most often to your swimmers?
I think the most important thing of swimming is that you usually get out of the sport what you put into it. No one's getting graded on a scale. What it takes to go fast is a lot of hard work and in a lot of ways, it's more like life than school is, because people you're competing against are going to work hard and have goals very similar to yours. It comes down to how much work you're willing to put in.
 
What kind of challenges do you face as the head coach of a successful team?
We are always faced with the challenge of making sure that we have enough pool time. Our coaches leave for different reasons, and we employ a number of coaches who are still in college. I think there's always a challenge to find people who are good and are excited about the people we have in the program. In the economy that we have today, we also have to ensure the swimmers are going to the right meets and that parents can afford to do what makes their kids successful.
 
What goals do you have for your team in the next year?
I think we have always focused on Olympic Trials. We generally like to have as many kids attend as last time. We had 40 attend last time, we'd like to have 3-4 kids make the U.S. team, and I think we have the older kids to do that.

 What suggestions do you offer to other clubs to help them become more successful?
I think our club is very fortunate to have a strong support system. We have a lot of good coaches involved and parents involved. The parents who are local to Ann Arbor even want to be involved with the collegiate kids as well, and I think that over the years has really benefitted us a lot. Our parents work very hard, are very supportive and try to be understanding, even if they don't have a background in the sport. That makes a difference, no matter where the club is located.