EDWARDSVILLE - Godfrey swimming legend Maddie Monroe has taken over as head coach of the Summers Port Swim Club Sharks from longtime head coach Nancy Miller and looks to continue the tradition of the club's excellence. Summers Port is where Monroe's long swim career began many years ago when she was a young girl. Miller retired as the Sharks' coach over the past year.
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The Sharks posted impressive performances overall in the SWISA Relays Meet on Monday night at Sunset Hills Country Club.
"Yeah, I'm not trying to step into anybody's shoes," Monroe said. "I'm going to be my own coach, I'm going to have a different philosophy than Nancy. I don't kind of see it as stepping into anybody's shoes, I'm just stepping into my own shoes and putting my own twist on the program. I swam for Summers Port for many years and went through many different coaches since I was eight years old. So I just want to carry the tradition and all the coaches beforehand, and not just Nancy has brought to the program.
"It's a little bit of a rebuilding," Monroe continued. "Our numbers are down, so we're just trying to get kids excited to get back into the pool."
Monroe has been a college swim star at the University of Arkansas. She holds the University of Arkansas record in the 200 freestyle (1:46.05) and 100 freestyle (48.71). She also holds records in the 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 800 free relay and 400 medley relay. Monroe has been a member of Arkansas’ 800 free and 200 free relay teams that have clocked two of three relay ‘A’ cuts all time. Monroe an upcoming senior, has made two consecutive NCAA Championship appearances.
The main thing Coach Monroe is focused on for the Summers Port Swim Club team members is to get them in the pool and have fun. It's something that Coach Monroe is emphasizing to her swimmers.
"I told everybody at the last couple of meets, the first thing I want is kids to be as good people," Monroe said. "I think that's super important, is showing that we're all great people, we're good hosts, we're good visitors. The second is to have fun, and the third is to swim fast. That's the most important part is these kids walk out of here with their best friends that they have for their entire lives."
Monroe is looking ahead to the season, as shortened as it may be, and an early date for the SWISA meet this year as well.
"It's going to be a quick season," Coach Monroe said. "We only have about three more meets before SWISA. So it's a quick season, but we're enjoying it and have a lot of fun. It's been a wonderful pleasure to coach these kids, and I'm having a blast. It's been really fun to kind of take my swimming career. It all started here, and it's great to come back."