This week, we'll be turning the spotlight onto Ceallach Gibbons.
Ceallach Gibbons, a former athlete representative on the AEC, is continuing to give back, but in the form of coaching. Ceallach has been involved in the coaching world since she started teaching swim lessons in high school. Currently, she is the Assistant Age Group Coach with Rose Bowl Aquatics in Pasadena, CA. Additionally, she has coached high school swimming, Masters, and club swimming.
Ceallach’s transition to competitive coaching happened in college when she had the opportunity to train with the Harvard's Masters swim team during the summers between her college seasons. When the Masters program was looking for a new assistant head coach, Ceallach was hired into the position. It was this role as assistant head coach that made Ceallach realize she had a passion and a talent for coaching.
“Coaching forces you to question your own assumptions and knowledge constantly, it promotes continuous learning, and it challenges you to find a way to connect with people from vastly different backgrounds with drastically different learning styles. It's different every single day, and requires flexibility and an open mind.”
Ceallach’s favorite part about being a coach is watching her athletes develop confidence. She highlighted that her favorite part of swimming is its unique ability to develop athletes' life skills and confidence as a constant, ongoing practice. For her, seeing athletes navigate a challenge themselves, learning how to problem solve, or figuring out how to apply a skill from swimming to their life outside of the water is the most rewarding.
During her years as an athlete representative, those three skills also overlapped with coaching. Ceallach believes that coaching and being an athlete representative can be viewed in the same light. If an athlete representative was to consider coaching, Ceallach affirms that athletes already have the technical skills to do the job. Through her experiences with coaching, she has discovered that everything that she is sharing with her kids is from one of the many coaches she had growing up, or from other coaches who she has learned from.
“Take the mindset that you have as an athlete, somebody who wants to learn, somebody who wants to improve, somebody with goals and ambitions, and bring that with you to the pool deck as a coach. All of those things will make you better both in and out of the water.”
Ceallach also articulated that she thinks all athlete representatives should consider coaching, officiating, volunteering, or even supporting a swim team administratively. Even if the athlete doesn’t have the time to coach, they can contribute a few hours a week to the daily operations of a team.
“There are so many ways to give back to this sport.”
Author: Annie Kramer
Annie is originally from the Oklahoma LSC and has been an athlete rep for 3 years. She currently serves on the USA Swimming Membership and Registration Committee and the AEC Leadership Sub-Committee and swims for the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX.