For Sue Welker, it was the right time to return to the pool deck as a high school girls swimming and diving coach.
Welker coached at Naperville Central from 2006-13, the last four years of which she was head coach. For a variety of reasons, she stepped away, only to resurface this season at Benet.
“I think the timing was great,” she said. “It came at the right time in my life. With my master’s swim program, we’re kind of suspended; we’re running outdoor workouts.”
She’s stepped into a good situation, with 2019 state qualifiers Tabitha Torres, a senior, and junior Maura Fitzgerald, along with an up-and-comer in junior Jacqueline Yap.
But it’s not without its challenges. Benet doesn’t have a pool, so the Redwings have had to use the Hinsdale Community Pool, Naperville Tennis Club, West Superior Training in Willowbrook and now the new FMC Natatorium in Westmont.
She wouldn’t trade it, though. Not for a moment.
“They are very disciplined, hardworking, conscientious young women,” Welker said. “My biggest goal for them is getting them back to mental health and work on the process to being happy again, and not driving so hard the training.”
Her new charges are enjoying both her experience and her approach.
“I’ve known Sue and I was super-excited to find out she was coaching us,” Torres said. “One thing that I like about Sue, not having state or sectionals this year, it was a tough realization, but she’s helped the senior swimmers understand that there are a lot of things bigger than swimming.”
Added Fitzgerald: “She’s really lightened the mood and she’s made sure everyone is bright and happy when they come to the pool.”
Picture Source: Courtesy of Sue Welker