Making Waves

Henry Morrow – Kansas City Blazers (pictured top)

How long have you been a swim coach: 35 years.

What exactly does your job entail? My responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of our programs at our Shawnee Mission North and Roeland Park sites. I set up the hiring and maintain the quality of staff as well as manage all levels of training at the site and set up practice and meet schedules.

Training/background: Started swimming competitively when I was 8 and continued throughout college. I began coaching as an assistant on my college team. I did that for five years until 1980 when I began tour of duty with Swim Atlanta that continued for the next 24 years. Then I came to Kansas City in 2004. 

Favorite part of job: My passion is working with kids and making a positive difference in their lives and also the actual competitive part of the swimming.

Titles or wins your team has achieved through the years: We have been one of the top 10 teams in the country on a regular basis, Missouri Valley team champions for the last 25 years and held more than 40 regional championships. We have produced six Olympians and many national champions.

Age range of swimmers on team: 6 to 26.

Meet schedule: Year-round. We average about one meet per month. 

Why is swimming a great sport:  The process of learning to be a successful swimmer teaches the athlete self-discipline, perseverance and the value of hard work and gives them friends for a lifetime.

Anna Beckett – Hallbrook Hurricanes (pictured middle)

How long have you been a swim coach: This is my third summer at Hallbrook Country Club where I am the head swim coach.

What exactly does your job entail? I work with and instruct a team of approximately 145 swimmers from the middle of May to July 12. We teach and help them improve their strokes throughout the season. We have four swim meets throughout the season, which concludes at the final championship meet. We also instill the importance of sportsmanship and team spirit in our swimmers. 

Were you a swimmer growing up? Yes, I swam in the Country Club Swim Association of Kansas City (CCSAKC) for 14 years with the Carriage Club swim team. 

Favorite part of job: Working with and getting to know the swimmers as well as meet days.

What is the meet you most look forward to each summer? The championship meet at the end of the season. 

Biggest competitors: All 10 clubs in the CCSAKC are major competitors throughout the swim season.

Age range of swimmers on team: 6 to 18.

Why is swimming a great sport: Swimming teaches discipline, and it allows an individual sport to become a team sport as well. 

Do you work individually with your swimmers? Yes, I work with swimmers in practice as well as give private lessons. 

Phil LaFreniere – Nicklaus Golf Club Dolphins (pictured bottom)

How long have you been a swim coach? This is my third year as head coach for the Dolphins. Previously, I was an assistant coach for one year with the Overland Park Waves.

What exactly does your job entail? The majority of my job is designing practices and giving proper stroke instruction aimed at improving the individual swimmer as well as trying to reach our goals as a team.

Training/background: I swam for four years at Blue Valley Northwest High School and was a varsity letterman and state qualifier for three of those years. During my career at Northwest, our team won the Eastern Kansas League Championship three times, and I was named to first team all-conference in my junior season. I also swam for the Overland Park Waves and the Kansas City Blazers throughout high school.

What do you do during the off-season? I am currently double majoring in marketing and management at Kansas State University.

Meet you most look forward to each summer: Deer Creek.

Biggest competitors: Deer Creek.

Age range of swimmers on team: 5 to 18.

Practice schedule: We practice every morning, Monday through Friday.

Why is swimming a great sport: It is a total body workout that you can continue to enjoy your entire life. Very few sports demand the physical conditioning that swimmers put themselves through on a daily basis.

words: Maggie VanBuskirk