Swimmer of the Week:
Coach Kris Goodrich
I have no memory of learning to swim. There was a pool in my preschool for lessons so I was a water bug from the earliest age. When I was seven we moved to Northville and the lake right behind the house made my parents nervous about water safety. The first couple of summers my younger brother and I spent at the high school pool taking swimming lessons. I breezed right through lessons and ended up on the pre-team for a couple summers while I waited for him to also become “lake safe”. As soon as he graduated from lessons, the rest of the years until high school were pure joy with the freedom of the late 70s and early 80s. Along with all the neighborhood kids we would load up all our supplies for the day on all the canoes and rafts and spend the day on the lake. We would float, swim, and race each other across it all day long. The record was fourteen times to my now fuzzy memory. I’d love to know the distance now that I do open water swims – I would bet it was about a quarter mile so not too bad for a group of roughly twelve-year old kids! Fishes didn’t faze us, sea weed didn’t faze us, clay and mud fights were a daily occurrence, and when the dinner bell rang it was time to go home.
When high school came around and some of those friends started on the swim team I took one look at that small pool and that silly black line and thought “wow, how boring is that”? Even though I knew all my competitive strokes and turns and had done pre-team and had my parent’s encouragement, there was no talking me into it. I turned instead to competitive volleyball and played that throughout high school. But my swimming friends drew me back in and my very first job at sixteen was at the high school pool as both a lifeguard and a swim instructor. If you told me over thirty years later I would still be doing the same job I don’t know if I would have believed you!
I headed off to college – Indiana University for one year – for what I thought would be a degree in International Business with minors in French and Russian. What? Seriously? Obviously it didn’t work out like I thought and I have come to realize in my wisdom that “Man(Woman) plans and God laughs” because he has way better things in store for us. So…..the short story is that I ended up at The University of Michigan with a B.S. in Kinesiology. While I was there I was fortunate to work with some great educators that specialized in Aquatics during The U of M’s summer camps. For the first time ever, I started swimming laps! That black line wasn’t so boring any more but also the motor learning and the biomechanics of the strokes were so interesting to me as well.
After graduation I thought I would be involved in the physical therapy or fitness aspect of the industry but every time I went to interview for a new position they looked at my resume and said “You have aquatics experience? I have just the job for you!”. Over the next couple of years I ran aquatics programs at several places and taught lessons. I wasn’t really happy doing it but I wasn’t exactly sure why. At that point I had been the Youth Swim Director at The Sports Club in Novi for about four years. I was listening to my now ex-husband who told me I could do better than teach swim lessons with a degree from The U of M. Often going through a divorce gives you clarity and I realized that God indeed had plans for me and had known all along what he had created me to do. What I finally realized was that I loved what I was doing, how it affected the people that I am teaching to swim, and I was blessed to have a job I loved.
Fast forward a couple years to a new husband who supports me in all things that I do, two step-sons and a second daughter, and a career that I have truly come to love. In February of 2007, along with fellow MAC Swimmer Lindsey M, we decided to try out this new group at Milford High School. Hannah was just ten months old that day – she’ll be fourteen next month! We stepped into our first MAC practice not aware of what we were in for…..
For the first couple of years I would put her in child watch and swim. Then it was preschool. Then all of a sudden she was in Kindergarten and I had time! Then Suzanne Grebe mentioned to me about helping her out a little when it was holiday breaks…..that is where the trouble all started for you all! Next thing I knew I was the middle school coach for Huron Valley, then the Varsity Girls’ High School coach, then Suzanne was moving and I was briefly the coach, and now Dianne with this amazing team of other coaches!
Along with the coaching journey came my own personal swimming journey. Always a good swimmer, as Hannah got older, I was able to set more time aside and do some serious training. When the MAC team went to Indy for Nationals the first time my life was too busy. I had just done my first couple of meets. As a matter of fact my very first meet ever was the 2012 State Meet at Lake Orion at age 40! I had taught, coached and swam but never before gone off the blocks in my own meet before then! When I heard Nationals was going to be back in Indy in 2019 and I looked at the cut times I knew that I had a chance of making a few. I heard all the stories and how much fun the MAC team had and didn’t want to miss out. I trained and made my cuts in both the 50 Free and 100 Free. Being at Nationals with the largest team from Michigan ever was an experience that I will never forget. I swam terrible because I was having so much fun coaching and socializing but the experience was worth it!
My favorite memories of MAC are the little ones though: of the friends in the lane with me (Melissa, Melissa, Rachel, Dianne, Kim R., Maria, Janette) when I am really tired and even I don’t want to do the next set, saying “we can do this together”. Being so exhausted re-doing relays for the 1000th time that I fell asleep and was snoring on deck and someone took my picture in the middle of State Meet. Of the guys at Kentwood having a breaststroke pullout contest to see who could go the furthest. The cheers for Carol at State Meet because everyone thinks she can’t finish her Fly when we know she’s really just resting up for the next lap. Of our strategizing ladies who dominate their age group each year by dividing and conquering like no other in the 4IM, 2Fly and more. Coming together as a team to paint Barb’s fence. Doing breaststroke for 2+ hours at Swim to the Moon to support our teammates…….and so many more I can’t even count.
When someone asks me what I coach I just laugh now. Walnut Creek kids in the summer, MAC team that I swim on during the school year, Novi Sturgeons USA team a couple nights a week, and the US Paralympic team a couple times a year. My youngest swimmer is 3 and my oldest swimmer is 85. I have swimmers that swam in college, some that hope to make Olympic Trials one day, some that can’t put their face in the water, many that swim for fitness, some that swim to keep moving, and some that are blind, paralyzed or missing limbs. Each and every one of you teach me something or inspire me. What I learn from all of you when I am coaching is what I pass on to others in the next set, lesson, or class. I am truly blessed.
MAC Swimmers are the greatest advertisements of all! We love how you share your stories on social media, with friends, etc. We would like to share your stories as well. Each week we will highlight a MAC Swimmer so we can learn more about the team.