By Kelsey Reese//USA Swimming Communications Intern
Editor’s Note: Every Friday, usaswimming.org will publish “Coaches You Should Know” featuring some of the best age group and grassroots coaches in the nation. This week, we bring you ASCA’s Southern California, Pacific Committee 2012 Age Group Coach of the Year, Kristine Quance Julian
Kristine Quance Julian currently coaches at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, California, where she works primarily with 12 & unders but also recently began coaching a group of 13-14 year olds.
Quance Julian had a very exciting and rewarding swimming career at the University of Southern California. While a Trojan, Quance Julian was a six-time national champion; she also won multiple medals at the Pan Pacific Championships. Later, Quance won a gold medal in the 4x100 meter medley relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
How did you first begin swimming?
I was about 10-years-old and my mom got both me and my two younger sisters into swimming because she didn’t know how to swim and living in Southern California she wanted us to know how. We all kept swimming; one of my sisters got through half of her freshman year in college before she was injured and my other sister swam through high school. I really enjoyed swimming; being in the water felt like home, it was very comfortable right away.
When I was pretty young my sisters and I tried several different sports. I can remember doing ballet, ice skating, gymnastics, tennis, all those but nothing that I really loved as much as swimming.
How did you land your first coaching job?
When my husband became started coaching here at Rose Bowl, he talked a little bit about me coming back and coaching and I wasn’t really excited about it. He convinced me once he became the head coach because he needed a head Age Group coach.
I had done some volunteering before and run clinics while I was swimming. I was also a volunteer coach at the University of Southern California for a little while but nothing where I was coaching on my own.
What is one of your most memorable moments from swimming?
I love watching the kids and their reactions to reaching their goals, whether it’s in practice or at meets. I love seeing them express that and feeling that with them as well. For myself, my most memorable moment in swimming was in 1997 when we won NCAAs at USC; doing that as part of a team was much more exciting than anything else that I accomplished. They always say winning is a lot more fun when you have someone to share it with!
Who has been most influential on your swimming experience?
There have been a lot of people, I don’t think I could pin point one. I was fortunate to have good coaches that were supportive of everything and I still keep in touch with my club coach who is in England right now. I worked with Mark Schubert and a lot of great assistant coaches at USC and my family and my teammates of course.
Do you have any tips for other coaches?
I think what I try to remember, and did in the beginning too, is that you have to constantly be learning. Look to people who can give you constructive criticism and be willing to take it. Realize that what you believe is right today, you may have to change a year or two from now. I think it’s important not to let your ego get caught up in too much of it but really be willing to change and learn.
How would you describe your coaching philosophy?
I would say as far as coaching in the water, we really focus on technique first and then race pace training. Outside of the pool, we focus on team, on being a good teammate, what is best for the overall team, and really creating a strong team environment.
We do a lot of different activities. Since my husband and I have started on the team, it has grown from 120 to over 400. We have really tried as we’ve grown to keep that smaller team feeling. We have 15 different groups. Each group does their own activities and then we’ll come together as a team and sometimes break them up into different age groups. We’ll do fun things like bowling or beach parties; we take travel trips as a whole team.