There’s just something about the high school swimming team. Just ask Sam (Prasher) Hoffman. She loved it so much, she spent six years on the team; two with Chaska, the final four at Chanhassen.
“I love the team, the environment, and the energy throughout the season. I swam seventh through 12th grade in this district, and I have loved watching these programs grow into what they are now. They have made a great impact creating the wonderful swimming community in this district and I look forward to what the future holds,” Hoffman, recently married in April, said.
For Kendra Maus, a resident of Carver for 16 years, the former Mankato West swimmer said her thrill in the pool comes with working with teenagers.
“(I) believe they’re at a critical point in their development where I have the opportunity to help them build character into well-rounded adults through sport. Previously, I taught Personal Wellness at Edina High School before I moved to Elementary in Eastern Carver County. Overall, I love working with younger kids, but really missed the connection I made with teens. This year I’ll have a good balance,” Maus said.
Hoffman and Maus are the new co-coaches of the Chaska girls swimming program, replacing Megan Hawker, who resigned following the 2019 boys season to start a family.
“I am beyond excited to Coach for Chaska and this great group of girls. My coaching history might be short so far, but I feel that my swimming experience will help me to be a great coach, leader, and example to these wonderful young ladies,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman, a three-time all-conference swimmer at Division I South Dakota State University, led the Dolphins age group with WEST Express the past year. Some of the 6-to-12-year-olds in the pool for the first time.
Though terrified at first, the experience was rewarding.
“They always bring a smile to my face and push me to be a better person for them. I love to see the huge strides in improvement from these young kids throughout the season, see them having fun, and wanting to continue with the sport,” Hoffman said.
When the opportunity to get back into the high school program came about, Hoffman couldn’t pass it up. Being involved in a competitive setting brings back the competitive juices from her own time in the pool.
Hoffman was a member of a conference championship squad, swimming relays for the Storm at state.
“I love coaching at the club level, but I will always have a special place in my heart for high school swimming. I love being able to work with the high school girls that are at all skill levels and share my passion for this sport. I look forward to continuing the legacy Megan created with this team as well as seeing where I can take it. I cannot express how excited I am for this season!” Hoffman said.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Hired just a month before the official start of practice Aug. 12, Maus and Hoffman are getting their feet wet with the team this first week.
Their message to the team and the parents was simple.
Both coaches are honored to be part of their swim community. Maus said expect quite a bit of technique work, too.
“My goal is to inspire the team to compete with respect and integrity, develop lifelong skills they can use in and out of the pool, and create an environment where everyone feels welcome,” Hoffman said. “This first week in the pool I feel it will be important to get into a rhythm with Kendra and the Girls. The high school season is short, and my goal is to hit the ground running. I want to know by the first week where everyone is at and be able to create a plan for each swimmer individually and the team as a whole.”
What one coach may not see, another may. What one coach excels at, another may be better suited for something else.
Chaska has two well-rounded leaders on the pool deck.
“We compliment each other well and are both swimmer focused. Sam brings a depth of knowledge on swim technique and is a wizard with stats and the technical component. My background in child development, health, and wellness, which synergizes well for a teenage swimmer,” Maus said.
“We haven’t known each other for long, but I feel we will become a great team and will balance each other well. Thus far I have learned that Kendra brings her experience of being an educator and Mom to this team. She is kind and excited to work with these girls,” Hoffman said.
Being co-coaches will allow us to use our strengths to create a better environment for the team. We will be able to bounce ideas off each other to get through different situations,” she added.
Chaska opens the dual season on Thursday, Aug. 22 at Eden Prairie Community Center.