Faces of FOSS: James Wick

James Wick
Head Coach,
FASTjets Swim Team
Blaine, MN

How long have you worked for FOSS?

I’ve been with FOSS for 6 years.

What is your favorite part about working for FOSS?

I love developing a future for kids and families through swimming. It is an extremely rewarding job that I consider more of a hobby most days. It’s like watching the Olympics to me, which is both exciting and sometimes emotional due to my connections with the kids.

What is your favorite age group to teach and why?

I really enjoy teaching teenagers and young adults. I feel swimming is a great way to teach discipline and standards because it requires certain life skills in order to master, such as eating right, waking up early and staying healthy. These things directly influence our ability to swim fast. That kind of coaching investment leads to a very rewarding relationship with the swimmer and their family.

What is your favorite skill to teach and why?

I like the butterfly for its simplicity and wide range of use. If a swimmer is able to perform the dolphin kick efficiently with speeds of 3 kicks per second, they will improve all four strokes, as all four strokes require that dolphin kick for under-waters. It’s also great because the arm motion is extremely straightforward: drawing a straight, deep, hooked line into a straight arm swing. This makes for a very fast-paced, aggressive stroke!

What do you love most about being around the water?

It’s difficult for me to be around water and be negative, because it’s relaxing to let your body sway with the waves. I feel I can open up after a hard swim as the endorphins hit. Things suddenly seem less stressful, and I can think clearly about my goals.

Describe a time when a student of yours experienced a major “lightbulb” moment.

I really enjoy helping kids get off the blocks for the first time. I’ve experienced countless moments where the parents have their cell phones out, recording their kids diving off the blocks for the first time. It is always followed with intense excitement and cheering from the whole class. A classic!

Did you ever swim competitively? What was your proudest moment?

Currently, I am trying to break 22 seconds on my 50-yard freestyle. I stopped making excuses and over-embellishing my achievements by asking for help from my fellow coaches. I was able to hit a 12.6-second 25-yard free, aiming for a low 11 seconds going off the wall, and am aiming for a 9.5-second 25-yard free going off the blocks. What makes me proud of this is my self-assessment of my behavior and my taking responsibility to improve even though I feel my time has passed.

Anything else you wish you could tell parents about you as they bring their children to FOSS?

I believe swimming is the best activity in the universe. You don’t have to be the fastest to get healthy and open up new possibilities for your future. Being part of a swim team grants you the opportunity to prove yourself every day. You are the only person who can change your record, and I think that helps sharpen one’s self-awareness.

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