By Mohamed Abdelaal, Coach, Scarlet Aquatics: BMS Division | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Last May, I was blessed with the opportunity to present as part of a panel discussing mentorship. While the panel presentation was an amazing experience, the opportunity to reflect on those who have helped me become the person and the coach I am today was the true blessing.
My mentors in the sport are Brian Brown, Chuck Batchelor, Thomas Speedling, and Kenneth O’Reilly. As a swimmer and young coach, I did not have the swimming pedigree or the successes any of those coaches have, which I observed was a commonality amongst the best coaches, a group I wanted to be part of. I reached out to all of them separately and sought their advice on various questions, and I did so frequently. Without having a prior relationship with any of those coaches, they were all so open and welcoming to all questions.
In 2010 I had an opportunity to be on deck with coach Brian Brown four days per week for a six-month period. During that time, I would show up to watch workouts and ask questions. Watching those workouts and experiencing how Brian interacted with athletes and got them to perform incredibly in workout was the most influential and formative experience in my coaching career.
It is commonly stated that experience is the best teacher. Having trustworthy mentors gives us the ability to borrow invaluable experiences. The swimming community is an amazing community with many of our most successful people and coaches willing to share and answer questions. My circle of colleagues whom I trust to mentor and be mentored by continues to grow, and I am so incredibly grateful for the community we are part of.