Saying goodbye is the hardest thing

by James Nock — in


I don't even know how to start with this post, I really don't. Things at the club have been going really well and we've been on an upward trajectory for quite some time.

Then the pandemic hit and we were out for 20 weeks. The swimmers, somehow, did a brilliant job of keeping themselves relatively fit whilst they couldn't swim and they came back to the pool far fitter and more capable than I'd ever have expected them to. The last 4 weeks have gone really well and I couldn't be more pleased with the way things have been going.

During the pandemic I had a lot of time to think about my life. I was very close to not going back to the pool when it re-opened on the 27th July but I did because I felt the swimmers really needed me. Like most coaches I expected a few swimmers would not return or give up after a short period back in the water but I'm proud to say that this hasn't happened - we really pulled together over the break with weekly video meetings and a few quizzes which I think helped a lot. We even baked together. As things stand, my squad is super ready to begin next season - perhaps even more ready than they would normally be at this point in time.

From September things are set to go back to normal, (well, normalish) for the squad. However, things have really changed for me. I've realised that I really want to see my little one grow up. I already work full-time and with swimming eating up my evenings and weekends again I'll miss it and that's not fair on me or my family. I've got a full-on day job at a tech startup that the world really needs, I have some self-development that I need to do as part of being a professional, and I need to lose a few pounds. This is all on top of a million and one things that I need to get done at home. I find myself just not having time to do this 100% and if I can't do it 100% then it's better I don't do it at all.

After thinking things through I've realised that if I don't come off poolside now I'll probably end up coming off poolside in 6-12 months anyway for the same reasons as mentioned above. It'll be really upsetting and there's never a perfect time to leave a squad, but right now there are no competitions to work towards, swimmers are training with the goals of getting fitter, stronger and technically better ready for when competitions do restart. This is why now is the right time for me to go - it would be absolutely heartbreaking to go whilst swimmers are hunting down their first Regional QT or trying to get ranked in the top 48 for Nationals etc. This is the perfect time for someone else to come in and take a squad forwards that is ready for next season. When the competitions do restart, that person will then know the swimmers far better than they would if I left just before they started instead. So whilst swimmers/parents might be a bit gutted that I'm going, now really is the best time for me to do so, even if it might not immediately feel like it.

I'm really hoping that people see good in what I've done for the club and the swimmers over the last few years and that I can leave without any animosity from anyone - I'll almost certainly leave with a tear in my eye either way. There's no ill-feeling between myself and the club and I'm sure I'll hop in to a Masters session from time-to-time, I may even cover the odd session or two sometime in the future should the club want me to; I'm not planning on becoming a stranger. I'll also be around as a friend to all of the other coaches if they ever want to soundboard anything off of me.

I'll be finishing on Friday 28th August with a very heavy heart as the club goes on a break for a week and I know they are working hard to work out a solution for when the swimmers return on September 7th for the new season.

It's been an absolute pleasure guys, it really has. Keep smashing it! 🏊‍♂️ 🏊‍♀️

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