Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Sea Creatures ; Chapman Takes Coaching Game to a New Level in Colorado

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Sea Creatures ; Chapman Takes Coaching Game to a New Level in Colorado

Article excerpt

Mike Chapman is no stranger to watching student athletes succeed, as he stands cross-armed on the pool deck, eyes darting from lane to lane, scrutinizing swimmers' body position and stroke form. However, garnering any recognition for coaching them has always been the furthest thing from his mind.

So it came as a bit of a surprise last summer when Chapman, head coach for the Newburgh Sea Creatures age group (children aged 5 to 14) received an email from USA Swimming informing him he had been named a Junior National coach.

"It wasn't even something that was on my radar," Chapman admits.

The distinction came following the Junior National Championships last August, when one of Chapman's swimmers, Reitz High School junior Lilly King, placed fourth overall in the women's 100-meter breaststroke.

As a Junior National coach, Chapman is invited to visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., this month, where he will take advantage of a host of educational resources, guest speakers and the opportunity to spend time consulting with other national coaches.

"There is an agenda for the program, but the downtime, that's the most important thing for the coaches," Chapman says. "That's when we'll be able to really swap info and teaching tips."

The title of National coach carries weight for both Chapman and his Sea Creatures swimmers.

"Mike being a National Coach absolutely raises the bar for what's expected out of our program," says Kelley Wells, 22, a Sea Creatures assistant coach. "Not just for competitive reasons, but for prospective parents, too."

A special education math and language teacher at Castle Middle School South, Chapman has been an ever-present figure in the Tri- State swimming scene since he began his coaching career at Bosse High School in 2001.

After graduating from University of Evansville with a bachelor's in special education, he immediately took a teaching position at Bosse. …

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