Coaches You Should Know: Sarah Landreneau
By Mallory Majcher | 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.
“If swimmers don't know that you care, they won't care what you know.”
These words are hung up in the office of Sarah Landreneau and are the foundation of her coaching philosophy. These words are a constant reminder of why she stands on the pool deck every day, sharing her love and passion of the sport with young, aspiring swimmers.
Landreneau started swimming when she was 8 years old after receiving a flyer about a swim team at school. She immediately fell in love with the sport and knew she was meant to be in the pool. After moving from California to Louisiana, Landreneau continued to develop her career under Coach Ed Kelley and the Hurricane Swim Club before earning a scholarship to Ouachita Baptist University where she captained her squad to the Gulf South Conference championships.
Upon graduating, Landreneau began teaching, while coaching part time with various summer leagues, but it was not until she started a family that she decided to shift her career to coaching fulltime. Over the past nine years, the 2013 Louisiana Age Group Coach of the Year has played a key role in the success of the City of Lafayette Swim Club.
The COLA head age group coach has three goals in mind: coach the fundamentals, teach the value of hard work, and ensure that her athletes are having fun.
“Yes, we teach the fundamentals of swimming, but there is so much more to teach these athletes,” said Landreneau. “It is important that [the athletes] know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but they will feel so great about their accomplishments.”
Landreneau knows that hard work can be taught to these young kids and hopes that, through coaching, she is able to leave those lasting values with her athletes. She also strongly believes in the power of building relationships with athletes and knows that she serves a role beyond coaching, a philosophy she learned from her former coach. A philosophy that inspired those words, displayed proudly in her office.
“We are not just coaches,” said Landreneau. “We are mentors and role models to these young athletes.”
Coach Kelley served as a mentor to Landreneau and taught her the significance of caring for each individual athlete, whether they are a beginner or a regular state qualifier. Through the leadership and guidance from Kelley, Landreneau cherishes every single one of her athletes’ accomplishments and says that the little victories have been the most memorable part of her job.
“When I have [an athlete] qualify for a state meet for the first time or reach their personal goals, it just makes my job worth it.”
Above all, Landreneau wants her athletes to have fun in the pool, and feels that it is one of the most important components of coaching at the age group level.
“I want these kids to love swimming,” said Landreneau. “Swimming has always been such a big part of my life and has given me so much, and I want to give that back to [my athletes].”