Coach Clark seeks to increase diverse swimming techniques for students

Norfolk Collegiate is excited to introduce its new swimming coach as our December Coach of the Month. Patrick Clark has coached since he was 14-years-old in the Northern Virginia Swimming League. “I grew up swimming for Curl-Burke West, now Nations Capital Swim Club (NCAP). Then I attended Bishop Ireton High School where I was the captain of the swim team for two years,” he said. Clark is also the coach at Naval Air Station Oceana. He does all of this while attending Old Dominion University where he is studying international business. There is no question that his hard work and dedication has promoted him to be December’s Coach of the Month.

What does it mean to you to be selected as the Coach of the Month?

I am honored to be selected as Coach of the Month, especially being that this is my first year coaching at Collegiate. I love the program here and couldn’t think of a better group of kids to coach.

How did you get involved in coaching?

I grew up as a club swimmer and started coaching when I was 14-years-old in the Northern Virginia Swimming League (NVSL). At the time, I was exposed to different types of coaching and loved to work with my teammates to increase their skills. The energy at swim meets is infectious. When I was asked to help coach my high school team for a season, I leapt at the opportunity. After my first year, I couldn’t stay away.

What is your goal for the team this season?

My goal for the season is to build a solid foundation for the next few years. I want these swimmers to have consistent improvement in their times throughout the year. I also told them at the beginning of the season, if we had one penultimate goal, it would have to be to beat Bishop Ireton at the state competition.

What lesson do you strive to impart on your students and athletes?

The three lessons I want to impart on my students are integrity, persistence and determination. Nothing is going to come easy with swimming. This is one of the sports where what goes on in your head translates into how your body competes. I always tell them what you do in practice is what you are going to do in a meet. Little things that will improve your stroke will take time and it’s up to you to put forth the effort. Only you will know if you have actually given it your all.

Is there a piece of advice that you were given that you try to impart on your athletes?

Yes, even though swimming is an individual sport in some respect, the team aspect plays a huge role. It is imperative that everyone cheers on his or her teammates even if he or she just got out of the water from a swim and think they could have done better. Also, to always thank their parents. Swim meets can be long and tiresome and practice times can be less than ideal. Swim parents have a lot of patience.

What is something that people may not know about you?

I was a nationally ranked age-group triathlete. I am currently training for Ironman in my spare time, which is a series of long-distance triathlon races.