Nominee: Coach Al Ledgin
part, I nominate Al Ledgin
for Age Group coach of the year.
In a further recommendation, a parent group nomination is also presented, further below.
His nomination is also a recognition of the entire coaching staff of the MCSC, including but not limited to long time MCSC coaches Krystal Hoffman, Casey Reeve, Andrea Senatore and Maggie Slezak, whose support and dedication along with Al have produced such a productive and exciting year for the MCSC and NJ Swimming.
Coach Al's passion for swimming can be seen in his efforts to not only motivate swimmers at the highest levels but also doing his best to introduce swimmers to their first taste of competition.
At MCSC intra-squad meets, Coach Al not only likes to brief swimmers before and after each of their events but has also taken to announcing at the clubs intra-squad meets.
Coach Al makes every effort to highlight swimmers competing for the first time, asking the parents to cheer when these new swimmers enter the water, because he believes all of the swimmers should be recognized for all of their individual achievements.
He'll note swimmers attaining their first "silver" cut times and those setting "gold" or club records as well.
Over 75% of the MCSC
are 14 & Under swimmers.
Of the 300+ members of MCSC
, only 50-120 compete in meets.
Members, from recreational to competitive, can choose their practice days and they are integrated together at each practice.
This past year, the membership practice groups were reshaped to give Coach Al more responsibility for 14&U athletes.
With only a small number of 15&O swimmers competing in meets, the reconfiguration provided the opportunity for Al's
practice group to be mostly age group swimmers.
From a team make-up of recreational swimmers to NCAA Division I swimmers on the club, Al's practice group of primarily 10 to 14 yr old's plus a handful of 15-19's, practice plans for any given day can be difficult to develop. Coach Al has been able to use imaginative techniques and drills to encompass the needs of the wide range of swimmers across all strokes.
As a proxy to his
success, the 3,700+ personal records this past short course season, included the swimmers setting club records at virtually every meet.
Added into the mix has been Coach Al guiding the MCSC and NJ Swimming to the national spotlight, coaching Vinny Marciano to eleven M11-12 NAG records from Jan-Apr 2014 in SCY 50 free, 100 free, 50 back, 100 back, 50 fly and LCM 100 back.
While coaching Vinny to setting numerous individual NJ Swimming records as well, Coach Al led swimmers Jonathan Chen, Thomas Cava, Zachary Crowe and Vinny Marciano to the NJS M11-12 400m medley relay record in January 2014 with a time of 4:54.41.
is so dedicated to the swimmers and his
can recall his
swimmers best practice and meet times.
This focus on times helps all of the swimmers to understand their (daily) progress towards their goals for silver, gold and other cut times.
Coach Al spends his time away from the pool reading and studying the latest training techniques and researching swimmers accomplishments around the world.
He uses this information to continually try to be the best coach he can be.
Coach Al is solely dedicated to the sport of swimming and his swimmers.
wants all swimmers to perform at their best and will go to great lengths to support the swimmers, club and NJ Swimming.
Whether it's the seemingly once in a lifetime opportunity to help guide a swimmer to national age group records, to NJ Swimming individual and relay records, club and individual performance achievements, this past year has been extraordinary for Coach Al, his swimmers, the MCSC and NJ Swimming.
I feel that Coach Al's dedication and passion for the sport and his coaching achievements of this past year should be honored with the Age-Group Coach of the Year award.
Parent Group Recommendation
As the parents of the young swimmers at Morris County Swim Club, we entrust our children to Coach Al at every practice and meet.
leadership and promotion of excellence, he
works to create an environment where each and every one of our swimmers can thrive and achieve their own goals.
He has cultivated an environment in which our swimmers truly feel a part of a team and they look to Coach Al for guidance, support, and motivation on a daily basis.
With practices that are open to parents, we watch Coach Al conduct practice and we know it must be challenging.
, the swimmer's individual goals are central.
Swimmers attend as many or as few practices as they choose, at any pool they choose.
never simply watches our swimmers do laps.
finely tunes each practice in real time to match the swimmers in attendance.
coaching is continuous, insightful, specific and extremely valuable to the swimmers.
Remarkably, Coach Al is able to recall all the swimmers' times, in practice and in competition.
It takes significantly more effort to run these types of practices, but all of our top swimmers want to work with Coach Al and he sincerely wants each of them to do well.
willingness and ability to match the swimmers' commitment and skill pays off.
We constantly see best times being achieved throughout the season and new goals being established as confidence is built.
In addition to making improvements on stroke technique, his
swimmers build endurance from a structured, ability-based (not age-based) practice regimen that includes detailed competitive techniques that gives big boosts of confidence to our children when it's time for meets.
For families joining MCSC from other clubs, witnessing the improvement by our swimmers from working with Coach Al is especially remarkable.
Commitment and Sportsmanship
In addition to the considerable skill/performance improvements, Coach Al's commitment to our children far exceeds a parent's expectations.
To have our Head Coach available for a full schedule of practices (typically 2 per day, 7 days a week), plus all meets, demonstrates a level of commitment not experienced or observed on other teams.
Also of great significance, is Al's
level of engagement at non-MCSC events.
Coach Al typically attends high school meets and championships to provide support and guidance from the stands to MCSC swimmers, always respectful of the coach on deck.
truly wants to know how they are doing and be there for them to help if needed.
At regional competitions where our swimmers qualify to represent New Jersey, Al travels out of state, Virginia and Upstate New York, for instance, to support our children, sometimes for as few as 3 or 4 swimmers.
We always know that Al
will be there to support our children, even when an unfamiliar coach has been assigned to the broader team.
A specific example of Al's
extraordinary level of commitment came during the Eastern Zones LC championship.
In addition to attending to support the MCSC swimmers who qualified for the main meet, Al
had solicited the team for anyone who would like to try the Open Water event, which was scheduled the day after the last day of regular competition in Richmond, Va. Though there were only 2 MCSC swimmers, ages 10 and 11, who entered the event, Al
was there early on Sunday morning, in the rain, to help them complete their first open water events successfully.
coached them on how to swim to and around the buoys, how to handle the start and finish, what to expect during the race from more experienced swimmers, and he
warmed each of the swimmers up until they were ready.
The weather cleared up, and each of the kids really enjoyed the experience and will do it again.
had not been there, our swimmers would not have had coaching, since this event was outside the commitment of the Zones coaches.
When thanked for being there, in the rain, the day after regular competition had completed, Al
summed it up with a statement that speaks volumes.
said, "you're welcome, there's no place I'd rather be than with these kids."
has a full plate with his
commitments to MCSC
and its swimmers, but he
remains gracious and accommodating toward our local swimming community as well.
Recently, as an elite swimmer on another area team was approaching her
11 th birthday, she
barely missed a NJS record at the last opportunity provided by the girl's team.
had a meet on its schedule just before her
birthday and upon learning of her
offered (with her
team's permission) to support her
record attempt at our meet.
traveled to the meet, warmed up with Al
and the team, sat with our team and was cheered enthusiastically by her
new friends when she
attempted the record one last time.
barely missed the record, but her
parents were so grateful to Al
for leaving no opportunity unaddressed for their daughter.
In this selfless act,