Teen swim coach leads Forest Lakes

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:18 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Sophia Yu has been swimming in the Jefferson Swim League since she was seven.

She was captain of the Albemarle High School Swim Team this year, specializing in the the butterfly and sprint freestyle.

“I love the JSL because it teaches not only athletic skills and discipline, but also skills like sportsmanship, and it’s where I’ve formed my best memories,” she said.

She had planned to swim again this summer in the JSL, up until she was called with an opportunity.

Just a month before the JSL season was set to begin, Forest Lakes still didn’t have a head coach, so they asked Sophia to trade in her swim suit for a coaching cap.

“It’s been amazing, I truly love this job. I wake up so excited to come in and the kids are so positive. I feed off their energy and it’s really fulfilling to see them improve and progress throughout the season,” said Sophia.

The kids believe Coach Sophia’s style works.

“I’ve seen myself improve on breast stroke, butterfly, and pretty much all the strokes. She’s a very good coach,” said Jake, a student.

“She helps me a lot with my backstroke, and perfects it to where now I’m doing a lot better in meets,” said Caroline, another student.

“A little bit of motivation combined with positive feedback. Something like ‘Come on you guys, you got this.’ A ‘Good job!’ at the end. I want them to be competitive but I don’t want them to feel any pressure. The JSL is all about having fun,” said Sophia.

Sophia is headed off to college next month to UC Santa Barbara. The only swimming she will do there will be for fun, but perhaps coaching is in her future.

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