How did a Gothenburg attorney become a volunteer swim team coach?
It’s all about the kids.
Why is she still volunteering with swim team after 12 years?
It’s still about the kids, but it’s also about the family and helping kids discover their potential.
When Lisa Jorgenson and her husband, Brad, moved to Gothenburg in 2006, her young daughters (ages 4 and 6 at the time) wanted to continue competing in swim team as they had in Auburn.
With no local swim team, her oldest daughter had to leave Gothenburg at 6:20 a.m. to practice on a team in Cozad. By the next year, Lisa had connected with Gothenburg veterinarian Ryan O’Hare, who swam competitively in junior high. Togther, they started a Gothenburg summer swim team and competed in the Plains Tsunami Swim League.
This year marks the Gothenburg team’s 12th year of competing. Ryan, who also has four children and is a triathlete in addition to his veterinary work, is still the head coach, while Lisa serves as the assistant.
Thanks to the new Gothenburg YMCA, swimmers can now compete in the winter as well. Ten swimmers participated in the YMCA swim league this year from Gothenburg. They teamed up with the Gators Swim Team in Holdrege for many meets.
It’s now time to gear up for the summer swim team season, which Lisa said usually attracts between 40-50 swimmers of all ages. The season begins May 28 and continues through July 13. The older swimmers practice every weekday from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the outdoor pool. Younger or newer swimmers will practice from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Y.
All four of Lisa’s children, Emma, 18; Madeline, 16; Kai, 14; and Axel, 11; have grown up competing on the Gothenburg swim team. Her daughters are both now certified lifeguards and both work for YMCAs (Emma at the Northeast YMCA in Lincoln and Madeline in Gothenburg)
Although Lisa spent her childhood summers at the city pool and completed all levels of swim lessons, she never competed until recently. Since the Plains Tsunami Swim League offers a 30 and older division, she started competing at the urging of her children.
“So even though I had a 6-week-old baby, I started practicing and competing with the kids,” she said.
She has learned everything she knows about coaching from watching Ryan O’Hare and attempting to emulate his teaching.
Lisa said she loves swimming because it is a physically demanding sport, yet it is easier on the joints than most other sports.
“It is a team sport where everyone participates, and the focus is on improving your time every time you compete,” she said. “It is also an important life skill and a sport you can continue to do into old age.”
Lisa said the best part of coaching swim team is watching kids master a new skill, like a stroke or a flip turn, and shave time off of their events.
“I especially enjoy watching those kids who haven’t necessarily experienced athletic success in other sports,” she said. “Their faces light up, and it is the best!”
She also appreciates the “second” family they have gained through swimming.
“We spend a lot of time together, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of parents and swimmers,” she said. “Everyone pitches in to help, usually before I’ve even realized that we need the help.”
For more information about Gothenburg swim team or to register, contact Lisa at (308) 537-2224 or call the YMCA at (308) 537-4022.