2008 Woodward graduate Danielle LeFevers just wrapped up her first year as the head swimming coach at Woodward, and she talked with us about some of her takeaways from the year.
After graduating in 2008, how did it feel to come back to Woodward as a teacher and a coach?
Returning to Woodward to teach and coach has felt like coming home! I’m happy to be around so many familiar faces, especially since so much of the campus has changed since I graduated. I am blown away by the athletics complex, math and science, and humanities buildings, which have all been added since I left. While so much has changed, I’m so happy to see so many of the traditions I remember are still in place.
When did you know you wanted to get into teaching and coaching? When did you know you wanted to come back to Woodward?
I have loved working with kids since I was younger. In college, I didn’t officially decide on teaching until my junior year, but I think I’ve known I was destined for teaching for a while. Many of the people in my family, including my mom, are teachers, so I think it just comes naturally. When I was in high school, I started teaching swim lessons at my year-round swim club. I continued working there every summer when I was home from college, and became even more involved when I moved back south after graduate school. As soon as I started teaching, I remembered the wonderful community we had at Woodward and wanted to be a part of it. I am so happy I was able to return so early in my career.
What has been the most rewarding part of being back at Woodward?
I think the most rewarding part of returning to Woodward is getting to mentor my swimmers the same way I was mentored by my coaches throughout high school. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can help my team improve in the pool, while also being able to offer them support academically and in their personal lives.
How did your first year as head coach of the swim team go? How much of a challenge is it to balance teaching and coaching?
We had an excellent swim season this year! I definitely feel that this season set the base for a strong swim program over the next few years. I was so happy with how hard all of the girls worked throughout the year, and was very impressed with our final results. In addition to swimming well, I think we really enjoyed our time together as a team. It is definitely a challenge to balance teaching and coaching, but the hard-working, positive members of my team made it all worthwhile!
What are your goals for the team in the future?
I am so looking forward to next season for our team! I already have plans to extend our pre-season training to allow the swimmers more dry-land time prior to the start of the season in October. I’m also looking forward to incorporating more cross-training programs throughout next season, such as yoga, which was a big hit last year. We’re working on more multi-team training session opportunities with some local Atlanta coaches as well. Overall, I’m looking to keep growing our program and our team in the coming years. I can’t wait to continue to work with our returning and new swimmers this fall!