Next up in our Coach's Spotlight series is Head Men's and Women's Swim Coach and Aquatic Director Elle Grier! Let's get to know more about Coach Grier;
How long have you been coaching for?
Three years of collegiate coaching (all three at Warren Wilson College) and two years of coaching a junior swim league of 8-10 year olds.
How did you become the head coach here at the college?
I was approached by my college coach from Mars Hill University, Teddy Guyer, who was the first swim coach here at Warren Wilson and he said that WWC was looking for a swim coach and he put in a good word with the Athletic Director at the time and I got the job. It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime for someone who had just graduated college and I couldn't pass it up.
Besides coaching what made you come to Warren Wilson?
Since I went to college near Warren Wilson we always swam meets against them and I always thought the campus was beautiful and the people here were always so welcoming to us. Just spending a few hours here as a visiting team member was enough for me to know that this is a special place and one that I would be honored to work at.
What is/are your vision/goals for the team?
My biggest goal for the team is to increase the size and overall competitiveness. With the opening of our pool we will have so many excellent resources at our fingertips and we will really be able to take this program to new levels.
How will you define success?.
I define success as using hard work and perseverance to reach your highest potential.
Do you find it difficult to balance your time between your personal life and coaching?
In the beginning I definitely did. My first year here I was so eager and excited to be given this opportunity that I didn't realize how hard I was working myself. My second and third year I definitely had to figure out how to make that balance so I don't burn myself out. However, its still hard especially in season because you're so invested in your team and making sure they have everything they need that time for yourself seems less important. It's something I know coaches always struggle with this because we are all so passionate about what we do.
What have you learned from your time coaching here?
I have learned so much that I can't even list it all. I would say the biggest thing I've learned is that every athlete is different, and while you do have to coach them as a team you also have to coach them as individuals. Not everyone responds to the same type of coaching so you really have to get to know your athletes and understand what it is that motivates them and use that to help them achieve their highest potential.
What would be the highlight of being in your program? What do you want student-athletes to take from your program?
I think the best part about our team is our dynamic and culture. We have the ability to work so hard and perform so well but still have so much fun in the process. Everyone gets along and we truly are like a family here. So many programs and teams get so caught up in the sport that they forget to have fun and enjoy the journey but I want my team to enjoy this experience and get the most out of their 4 years as a college athlete.
I want my athletes to be able to learn the power and importance of time management, hard work, and perseverance and take it with them into their lives after college. My hope is that it will lead them towards success in their professional lives just like it did in the pool.
What's a fun fact that most people don't know about you?
I can play both the flute and piano and was in both concert and marching band in high school. One of my goals is to learn to play the cello.
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About Warren Wilson College
The mission of Warren Wilson College is to provide a distinctive undergraduate and graduate liberal arts education. Our undergraduate education combines academics, work, and service in a learning community committed to environmental responsibility, cross-cultural understanding, and the common good. For more information on Warren Wilson College, visit www.warren-wilson.edu.