Jay Coleman

Men's and Women's Assistant Swim Coach
Sherwood Center, Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Tel: (509) 522-4202


WALLA WALLA -- One hundred swimmers in Walla Walla call him coach.

Given his dual role as the assistant swim coach at Whitman College and the head coach of age group swimmers at the local YMCA, Jay Coleman sees more than his share of swim workouts and meets.

Coleman began working as an assistant coach for both teams in September, 1992, and took over the head coaching position of the YMCA team in the fall of 1995. While swimming seems to be his forte right now, Coleman has also coached volleyball players, triathaletes and runners, and he teaches the swimming conditioning and triathalon classes at Whitman.

Coleman focuses much of his coaching time on refining the mechanics of his swimmers. "Technique is the key," he says. "I love it when people work hard, but they must have the mentality to keep their strokes together. If you don't master the mental aspect, the physical part becomes so much harder."

Whether coaching a 5-year-old in his first year of swimming or a veteran swimmer at the college level, Coleman's goal is helping athletes improve. He bases his coaching philosophy on development of self-esteem. "If an athlete doesn't have a generally positive view and outlook, the chances of accomplishment are significantly less," he says.

Coleman, the son of Whitman head swim coach For Coleman, the primary benefit of coaching is the sight of people, win or lose, taking pride in themselves and their accomplishments.

"You can learn from every experience, whether it's called success or failure," he says. "The value of each experience is determined by your reaction to it. I want athletes to get something more from swimming than just getting up and down the pool with fast times."