Leadership opportunities abound for the young people that are involved with the Hillbrook Pool organization. Whether it's teaching swim lessons, coaching the swim team, lifeguarding, maintaining water quality, or working at the canteen - there are many roles available that can really help our children develop leadership skills from their mid-teen through college years.

Someone that practically filled all of these positions at our pool during his formative years is Gerard Gauthier. While now a successful teacher and wrestling coach for Spartanburg School District 7, Gerard still serves the Hillbrook Pool organization as a member of the Board of Directors.  Having this outstanding perspective on what Hillbrook Pool has to offer our young people, Gerard shared what he has learned and observed from his Hillbrook experience with regard to leadership.  We trust that you will enjoy reading it.  Our hope is that his message will inspire future generations of Dolphins to take advantage of what Hillbrook Pool has to offer.

"Leadership means getting people to think, believe, see, and do what they might not have without you." -Bill Bradley

I learned at an early age that there is no secret to success. Success is achieved through hard work, perseverance, and repetition. When I was a youngster my parents joined Hillbrook Pool. It was on a sunny afternoon in June at Hillbrook Pool that I first witnessed hard work, perseverance, and repetition on display. Head swim Coach Tammy, and able assistants, Judy, and Trudy were plying their trade. They were instructing drones of kids, male and female, in all shapes and sizes, the proper way to position their bodies, move their arms, and kick their feet. I was amazed. I had observed football practices with my father and uncle, I had attended a baseball game, I had been to several musical productions, but I had never seen anything that resembled this ballet of exertion. I was mesmerized. The coaches were urging, encouraging, and warning kids through various gestures, whistle bursts, and gesticulations. Urging them to pull, stroke, and under no circumstances-touch the bottom.

That day in June left a lasting impression on me. Nearly two years later, and after a year of baseball, I was recruited for the swim team by Julie. Julie had been under the tutelage of Tammy, who had become one of my swim instructors. Julie believed in me, and she helped me believe in myself. During my athletic career I made many close friends, and I learned many valuable lessons. I learned the importance of proper diet and exercise. I learned the importance of visualization. I learned the importance of team work. I learned how to contribute as an individual, how to encourage others, and how to stay on task. I learned how to keep your hair from turning green, but not necessarily how to keep it from falling out. I also learned how to have fun without compromising team goals. These lessons were learned on the diamond, on the court, on the gridiron, in the arena, and of course in the pool.

Before I became a wrestling coach, I had the opportunity to coach at Hillbrook Pool in the nineties. I served as an assistant for Coach Sharon. Sharon’s organization, preparation, training, and ability to inspire in basketball, is almost as legendary as her ability to teach a kid to blow bubbles. I had the opportunity to instruct and coach with Rebecca, whose dedication was amazing. She had a quiet desire to excel. Legendary coach Jeff was able to vocalize his pride in Hillbrook with great charisma as a swimmer, and as a coach. Today he uses a similar exuberance when recruiting medical professionals. The relentless work effort and the confidence displayed by Kim in the water as a competitor, and at poolside as a coach, explain her ability to inspire learners in the classroom. More recently past Hillbrook coaches have become leaders of expeditions in the wilderness, in the classroom, in marketing research, and in media relations.

Bill Bradley credited his high school coach with helping him become a three time basketball All-American at Princeton, an Olympic gold medalist, a Rhodes Scholar, a professional basketball player, and a member of the US Senate.

Every time I attend swim team practice at Hillbrook Pool, I see young people learning to think, believe, see, and do, what they might not have done before without the positive urging of a coach or a role model.  Leadership opportunities abound for those involved with Hillbrook swimming!  Become a leader in the Dolphin organization.

Gerard Gauthier