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Coach of the Year says end of swim season was ‘surreal’

PARKER - Chaparral High School’s (CHS) girls swim team coach says she was amazed by her team’s performance this season, which ended with a seventh place finish at the State Championship meet, as well as a Coach of the Year recognition.
Head Coach Brooke Westall says the last seven days of the girls swim season was “a dream come true” for her and the CHS girls swim team. During a single week, they achieved three ambitious goals set at the beginning of the season: they won the Continental League meet, finished in the top-three in a state relay and were recognized with an All-American relay.
“You set goals all the time, dreaming of them happening, but when they actually do—you almost can’t comprehend the achievement,” Westall said.
Chaparral’s seventh-place performance at the state championship was spectacular. Westall says the team, which won all but one of its meets this year, had never placed higher than 14th before. During the state meet, several of her swimmers had impressive swims, recording lifetime best times and moving up several places in the state finals.
“People were noticing how well our team members were swimming. It was kind of a surreal moment for our whole team,” Westall said.
Westall was so excited by her girls’ performance, that the Coach of the Year honor caught her by surprise.
“Right before they [announced the honor] at state I was going across the pool to congratulate my girls because they had just recieved All American consideration qualification,” Westall said.
Beyond being named Coach of the Year, the state meet was an especially wonderful moment for Westall, because she has coached several of the swimmers on the team since they were little girls.
“It is pretty cool. In the last couple of years, several of my seniors I had taught to swim when they were only four years old,” Westall said.  “In fact, one of the seniors I taught… was a senior captain this year and has received a a college scholarship to swim,” she added proudly.
Westall began her coaching career with the Stonegate Stingrays, while she herself was a high school student-swimmer, albeit for Ponderosa High School. This, of course, was before Chaparral High School was built.
Westall says she never planned on coaching high school swimming. She swam at Boston College and thought that would be the end of her involvement in swimming. That is until an assistant coach position opened at Chaparral in 2002.
A few years later, she assumed the head-coaching job. Despite having a very demanding day job and learning that she is pregnant, she hopes to continue coaching in the future.
“I love coaching,” Westall said. “It’s so crazy, because I work 50 and 60 hour weeks on top of coaching. For some reason, it is what balances me. It definitely is one of the most important things I do. I love working with the girls and getting them an experience that maybe will shape their high school career or hopefully their journey into their adult years.”
Westall is excited about the prospects of Chaparral’s girls swim team in the future. While several seniors are graduating, four freshmen swimmers qualified for state this year. 
She, however, says her focus is not on speed or winning. It’s on developing the girls she works with.
“For me it’s about the whole package, not just about being the fastest swim team in the state,” Westall said.
October 14, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category:

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