Welcome to the ANA Synchro Blog – your resource for all things synchro and ANA Synchro-related!
To kick off our new blog, we check in Leah Pinette, on her first 5 months on the job as ANA Synchro’s Head Coach…
|Leah Pinette Head Coach, ANA Synchro
ANA Synchro: What’s harder, Leah…winning the team competition at collegiate national championship your senior year at Ohio State, swimming for Team USA all over the world, being Captain of the US Olympic Selection Team, or taking over as head coach for one of the largest youth synchronized swim teams in the nation?
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): (smiling) You know, coaching is not as hard physically, but, honestly, taking over as head coach has been the hardest! It's a lot easier just to show up for practice and have someone tell you what to do. There’s a lot that goes into planning a full year of swimming, and everything is so new with this first year. But I’m very excited!
ANA Synchro: Well, to be fair, maybe we should ask you that again after you’ve coached as many years as you swam!
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): That will be over twenty years from now! Things are getting easier all the time. It used to take me a long time to cut music and write all the coaching plans for each practice, but now I’m doing all that more efficiently. Next year, I'll know more what to expect with the girls on the team and with the competition schedule of our region and zone.
ANA Synchro: With everything else you have to do, why did you want to do a blog?
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): I want this blog to be a resource to really open up about our sport in general and our team. There are a lot of great aspects of being an athlete, being part of a team, and being part of a YMCA. I want to put it all together out there for people to see and read. There’s just so much information to convey to the athletes and to the parents that is really hard to convey at a practice or in a quick conversation. This will be a way to convey our team philosophy and what we want to bring out in the athletes.
ANA Synchro: Are you worried about divulging too many of our ANA secrets to success?
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): No, not at all. With synchro, I want everyone to improve, whether they’re on this team or not. I’d love to help build the sport of synchronized swimming. The more girls who are interested in it and competing, the better!
ANA Synchro: What’s your vision for ANA Synchro?
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): We are already one of the top programs on the east coast, and I believe we have the resources and the coaching staff in place to become the top program in the east. It’ll take some work to get there, and we may not see it for a couple years, but I believe we can develop our sport, build strong athletes, and give the other teams in the east a run for their money! And then, how do we compete better with the west? We can certainly do it! We have a lot of great resources in the east, and maybe we can work better together to make everyone’s team more competitive.
|Head Coach Leah Pinette confers with her athletes after an exciting swim.
ANA Synchro: Do you have one overriding philosophy to your coaching you’d like to share?
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): Yes, it’s something I learned from Chris Carver at Santa Clara, who is one of my biggest mentors, especially in helping me follow my Olympic dream. In fact, it may be the biggest thing that being on the national team has taught me. She always used to say “A ballet leg being straight isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. Yes, that’s what I coach you on, and that’s what I want you to do perfectly every time, but I just want you to give your best, 100%, every time.” Giving your best was what she was mostly trying to teach us. And so that’s the biggest thing I want to do – inspire everyone, whether it’s an athlete, a co-worker, or a friend to give their all. I would love to have everyone become Olympians with synchronized swimming, but that’s not what everyone wants. So, inspiring others to realize goals – whatever they may be – is what I want to do.
ANA Synchro: Can you give us a glimpse of what’s coming up in this blog?
Leah Pinette (Head Coach): Sure! We’re going to cover a wide range of topics, including the basics of synchronized swimming, being in a team sport, choreography, coaching plans, injury prevention, “staying in the moment,” healthy eating, suit design, what it means for our team to be part of a Y, and so much more. We invite everyone to subscribe to the blog, use the comment area to carry on the conversation, and contact us if you have suggestions for topics or would even like to be a guest blogger!
ANA Synchro is the competitive synchronized swimming team of the Merrimack Valley YMCA’s Andover/North Andover Branch. To visit the ANA YMCA, click here: http://andover.mvymca.org/ANASynchro