Former U of R Swimmer Wins Title, Despite Struggles

I came across an article about a former University of Richmond swimmer and about how the U or R swim program wasn’t a great fit for her, but despite that she was able to come back to win a national title.
I wasn’t sure If I wanted to post the article, because it is not very flattering of former University of Richmond swim coach, Matt Kredich, who is also my former swim coach, and a friend. But, for the sake of telling two sides of the story, I am posting it.

Michelle Coombs, the swimmer, featured in the story, obviously has bad memories of her time swimming for U of R. She even recalled her coach as Mark Kredich, instead of Matt Kredich (or perhaps the reporter made this error). Coombs, was burned out, and needed a break from swimming. It was obvious she was unhappy in the swim program at U of R.

“I was just miserable overall and it really did show,” she said. “It was not much in my swimming but I would come to practice miserable and not happy. One day, coach pulled me into the office and said I was being a cancer to the team. It was hard to hear. I could see it, but I wasn’t enjoying swimming at that point.”

Coombs said she withdrew into herself and started to feel isolated from the rest of the team. “I didn’t feel a lot of support from my teammates,” she said.

I’d like to say that while I’ve never been a collegiate swimmer under Matt Kredich, I did train under him and found him to be an amazingly inspirational coach. In fact, I can easily state his is the best and most patient swim coach I’ve ever had.

Having trained for a Half Ironman 70.3 last year (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) and as I am currently training for the 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim – both events that require many workouts longer than 4 hours and often training 12-14 hours a week. I can say that unless you are taking care of your body, sleeping right, eating right and coming to practice in the right frame of mind, there is no way you can make your body perform, even if you are not fighting an illness. I have no doubt that it was a tough situation for both parties involved, but If Matt called her a cancer to the team, her heart wasn’t in it and didn’t feel like she was part of the team, it was likely true.

I love comeback storeis, and I’m happy that Coombs was able to find a coaching program that worked for her and helped her to a national title, but I wish she hadn’t tarnished the name of such a great coach in the process of telling her story.