My girlfriend, the swim coach



Sue (left) with her best swimming buddy and training partner Lida. Both of them completed Ironman Wisconsin this past fall. This photo is from MOWS, Madison Open Water Swim. 

There are a lot of things I love about my girlfriend Sue. We share a ton of interests. Even beyond the running, riding and swimming, we love the arts, live theater and watching John Oliver.


But there’s also a thing I admire about her specifically. She’s a very good swim coach. I’ve seen her in action. Working with swimmers takes focus and patience. Learning to swim, as I have done this past year, is a difficult endeavor. You start out so slow and out of breath. The stroke seems impossible to sustain.



Sue with good friends and fellow Experience Triathlon members Jada and Suzi. 

Here’s the funny thing. She hasn’t been MY swim coach, per se. I decided that the best way to learn to swim was to get instruction from a gal at the club where I swim. Being the student of your bestie has its upsides, perhaps. But I did not want to explore the potential downsides.


Getting through the frustrations of learning or re-learning swimming (which was my case) requires a nudge now and then. It helps to have that objective voice to say “You can do this. Here, focus on this…”

As the process grew in my instruction with a coach named Whitney there came breakthroughs that I’d share and check with Sue. She put up with my overly enthusiastic musings about finishing a 100, then a 200. Then the workouts grew.

So it’s interesting to see her coach other athletes, and hear about their struggles and triumphs too. Many of her students I know at least casually. Some I get to know strictly from our conversations. Her descriptive abilities in relating how they got through a particularly difficult aspect of swimming actually help me learn as well.

But it’s her presence on the pool deck that I most admire. She has a wonderful ability to spot what needs to be fixed or improved in a swimmer’s stroke. Her ability to communicate these things has helped many a beginning swimmer gain confidence. She has also helped a number of serious triathletes improve their endurance and speed in the water.  She coaches for Experience Triathlon doing Swim 101, Masters Swimming and video analysis.

IMG_0924It makes me think back to that day in Governor Dodge State Park. It was early in our relationship. We were floating around in the water together, just swimming around like kids. She asked me to swim a little ways to show what I could do. “You’re not terrible,” she said, or something on that order. I found that encouraging.

Then she swam a bit on her own and I was mesmerized. She was like a seal in the water. It made me want to hug her. And I did. Our bodies bumped together under the water and we kissed. Then we both swam some more, enjoying the cool water after a long bike ride in the heat earlier that day.

The summer sun was on that angle where everything looks joyous and restful. There was no one left on the beach. Just us and the call of evening birds in the pines. We were learning how to swim together.




About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
This entry was posted in swimming, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My girlfriend, the swim coach

  1. Dan says:

    I love how you captured the euphoria of the early stages of love. Remember it oh so well!

  2. Sometimes it’s the simplest things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.