Coach Teri McKeever on How to Swim Like a Girl (USA)
From her office in Haas Pavilion, Teri McKeever can look down on Spieker pool. She’s been known to yell out the windows if things aren’t going the way she wants—just one of the many ways she’s distinguished herself over three decades of coaching at Cal.
The 27-year head coach of the UC Berkeley women’s swimming and diving team is one of the most successful coaches in the sport. She’s won four national NCAA titles, and her team has been in the top three ten years in a row. She’s coached 26 Olympians, including Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin, and Dana Vollmer. She was the first woman to be named head coach of the Olympic team and has served as assistant or head coach for the national team at the Olympics and World Championships many times.
But she’s most known for her quirky coaching style—having her athletes dance and body surf and jump rope—and for rehabbing burned out swimmers, like Coughlin, with an intellectual and unique approach.
“The workout is the easy part,” she said. But refining the craft of coaching has taken her a lifetime.
She’s Been a Head Coach Her Whole Life
Growing up, McKeever swam in a pool her father built in the family’s backyard. Her mother coached her, but with ten kids in the family things could get a bit hectic. “It wasn’t a set time for practice or a set length of time or whatever,” she said. They just had to made it work.
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