Female leadership transforms environment of swim team



Led by female coaches, girls varsity swimming has been able to achieve success in and out of the pool.

Walking into the Evelyn Kirrane Aquatics Center after school, the girls varsity swim team is greeted by the strong smell of chlorine and the smiling faces of their coaching staff asking them about their day.

With over 40 girls and a new, all female coaching staff, the team has seen a transformation this season. According to senior and co-captain Natalie Aronson, the shift in coaching staff has marked a positive step in the athletic careers of many girls on the team.

Aronson said new head coach Cary Monz has brought a sense of unity amongst coaches and athletes.

“We all feel really connected to {the coaches}. Cary is like our big sister, but she also really pushes us to be our best,” Aronson said.

For senior and co-captain Taylor Whitley, female leadership has also brought a greater sense of support to the team. Whitley said members of the team feel much more comfortable approaching coaches with any issues than they did with the previous male coach.

“Girls are definitely able to be a lot more open and more themselves because Cary’s like a friend that we can all go talk to if we are struggling,” Whitley said. “For a lot of girls, whenever they have a bad day, they go talk to her and she gives them a hug, whereas before that didn’t feel like an option.”

Junior Katherine Henry said this welcoming, open atmosphere has helped her value her high school swimming experience more.

“On a team composed of teenage girls in swimsuits, the environment feels a lot more relaxed with a female leader. Cary understands a lot of problems that only women would, and she makes the team environment feel powerful rather than frightening,” Henry said. “She has single-handedly changed the way I view swimming at BHS, and she is a superhero for that.”

According to Whitley, the nature of being in a bathing suit for practices and meets contributed to discomfort with a male coach. Whitley said with a female staff, many team members feel more physically comfortable.

“Being in a swimsuit all the time can be a little exposing. The whole team environment is a lot more comfortable with each other now and we’re all friends, which makes it much better,” Whitley said.

Aronson said the team environment has made practice much more enjoyable.

“I look forward to practice every day, and I know a lot of other people feel that way too. I think it’s because you can walk onto the pool deck and have a real conversation with your coach, chat about your days and then get in the pool.” Aronson said. “It is very much a work hard, play hard environment.”

Aronson also said having female coaches brings empowerment.

“You need to be your best for you. We’re not doing our best because we want to impress her; we’re doing our best for ourselves because she encourages us,” Aronson said. “It just feels so cool to be 40 girls with powerful women leading us.”

Contributed reporting by Zoe Brooks.