The life of a coach may not always be conducive to a Norman Rockwell-esque family life.
Between practices, games or meets during the season, it isn’t easy to find time to sit down and spend quality time with loved ones.
But Margaret Miller found a way to have both worlds when she took on the position as the swim coach at Westminster Aquatic Club, where her two sons — Harold, 15, and Brian, 13 — compete.
It’s Miller’s second year at the helm of the Westminster squad consisting of about 55 swimmers between the ages of 6 and 18, but she’s all too familiar with the club after having six children hit the water under a Westminster cap.
“We were going between coaches, and I was kind of like, ‘Oh, my mom?’ I didn’t even know she swims,” Harold Miller said. “She hadn’t swum since high school. I didn’t know how qualified she would be, but I was surprised.”
The Millers aren’t the only Westminster tribe to make swimming a family tradition. According to Margaret Miller, the club features several large families — a fact that doesn’t come as any surprise to the coaching mother.
“It’s a great thing for big families because you’ll get families with all six kids on the same team,” Miller said. “We have a lot of big families on the team.”
The youngest Miller said he was a bit hesitant when he first found out his mother would be his new coach, prompting the question, “Can we find another coach?” but Brian Miller said he quickly discovered that putting up with mom as coach wasn’t all bad.
“She works with me better because she knows me better because she knows how I learn,” Brian Miller said. “She has good drills and all, but she’s new at it, and she’s looking for things that could help kids more.”
Saturday was Westminster’s first league swim meet of the season against the Pelican Point Waves in Gonzales, and Harold Miller stood out as one of the older members of the team.
Margaret Miller said Westminster keeps a rather strong retention rate for such a small club, with many swimmers staying on for up to 14 years through high school, in part due to the fact of being a neighborhood team where athletes can ride their bikes or catch rides with friends to practice.
“I have my friends on my team,” Brian Miller said. “I do this for fun and not really for the competition. But I also like the competition … it’s pretty fun.”