5’7 with piercing pale blue eyes and short brown hair is a woman named Coach Aiken, but some may call her Ms. Aiken.
From 7:25 AM to 2:18 PM she teaches English by day and coaches swim in the evening.
Coach Aiken is not new to coaching. This year will be her twelfth year coaching the Churchland High School swim team. She didn’t take part in swimming since her high school was extremely small. However, Aiken did participate in a summer recreation activity league every year but, it wasn’t anything competitive.
“It’s super fun! I love that there’s nobody to blame but yourself when things don’t go your way. That there’s growth every single time you swim. That it’s both a team sport and an individual sport so, you get the commodity that comes with being apart of the team. Every week you really race against yourself,” Coach Aiken said about swimming and why the sport appeals to her so much.
Some coaches are hard on the kids who are new at the sport, but she praises them.
“It’s kind of corny, but just keep swimming."
“I look up to any student that is willing to try something that’s brand new. There’s an opportunity for students who maybe haven’t tried athletics before. To try something new without taking risks and for allowing them the opportunity to realize this is something they are good at. As long as they’re willing to work hard and try so, I admire any student that is willing to step forward and say I want to try something new.” Aiken said.
Coach Aiken had advice for all the aspiring swimmers out there.
“It’s kind of corny, but just keep swimming. Try it. Not everybody is going to be a Michael Phelps or a Katie Ledecky, but everybody can improve. Everybody can get better if they’re willing to put forth the energy and the effort to do so.”
Coach Aiken wasn’t athletic in high school and had no idea this was something she would do when she became a teacher. She got involved with swimming because her friend was coaching and fell in love with it, when she moved on to another school Aiken got asked to step in.
“When I went to my first swim meet to watch my friend coach I realized that they were all having a lot of fun. It wasn’t school and it wasn’t something that they were doing to win. They were doing it because they enjoyed the game. They were practicing hard and seeing that hard work pay off. It was an admirable thing for them to do and I knew I wanted to be apart of that as well,” Aiken said.
Photos: Jadyn Anderson