IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
Elizabeth Zamagni (Liz) grew up in Boston, Massachusetts where she swam for Simmons College while receiving her Dual Masters Degree in Elementary and Special Education.
She was a NCAA qualifier and all scholastic collegiate athlete for all four years. She went on to coach for 8 different swim teams ranging from age group, masters and triathlon swimming within the Greater Boston Area. Liz was instrumental in saving her local YMCA’s Swimming Team from being cut from their programming. She grew the team from single digits, led them to win 3 championship titles and established a team merger with 2 other local YMCA’s to create a USA Team within the southern area of Boston Massachusetts. Liz then became an Aquatics Director leading her aquatics facility to acceded revenue goals, participation and creating new programming for those communities.
To continue her knowledge of athletics, Liz became a certified Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach with ISSA, pursued certifications in Pre & Post Natal, Viper Training, Stick & Acumobility Trainings and became a Certified Water Aerobics Instructor with ASFA. She is a dedicated athlete within her own fitness program where she enjoys Yoga, Bare, Pilates, Strength and TRX training. Liz is a Boston girl at heart and so loves to cheer on her local sports teams. She believes with dedication, determination and commitment, anything is possible!
BSO: Tell us about your job. What is your title ? What are your key responsibilities?
I am a Lead Swim Coach for 2 age groups within a 350+ swim team. I lead 2 of the younger ages (6-9 & 9-10). I also assist one of my co-coaches with 2 of their groups (11-12 & 15+). I am fully responsible in creating the groups workouts each day. The individual workouts have to come together and look at the season as a whole to include the children’s individual goals, my and the team’s goals such as winning the championship meet at the end of the season. I send weekly emails to parents about what to expect each week along with monthly emails about each child’s progress. I have 57 children in total I am fully responsible for. I also keep track of each child’s attendance, attitude and overall health and wellbeing. I then assist my co-coaches with the same goals and daily practices when I am the assistant for their groups. My company also offers a Masters Swim Team for adults which I coach twice a week, working with the other coaches to create a smooth and cohesive plan for each month with their goals in mind. I lead a homeschool workout for children twice a week to fulfill their gym requirement. Lastly, I teach private lessons for adults and children, working with them on their goals such as improving on their next triathlon or learning to swim so they can join their middle school swim team (Swimming is a huge sport in Texas).
All in all, my greatest responsibility is listening to others and helping to direct and guide them from what they shared with me to reach their goals.
BSO: There is no typical day in the life of talented, ambitious professionals. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.
My schedule is different every day as we have limited pool space and each group does not swim every day. I am coaching a total of 32 hours on deck. My younger group swims three times a week while my older kids swim 4 times a week. When I assist I am helping out with five other practices a week. The young kids swim for 1 hour, then 1.5 and lastly 2 hours for the oldest groups. All of my groups swim after school so my day really goes from 4-8:30pm. I am coaching the homeschoolers and masters around lunchtime and complete about 2 hours of administration during the mornings. If we have a swim meet, I am working the weekends from 7am-2pm Saturday and Sunday. If we have no swim meet, then just Saturday practices/swim lessons from 8-1pm leaving Sunday as an off day. I have always been a morning person so I get up around 5-6am and am in bed by 9-10pm.
BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?
I love my apple watch for personal use. I spend my time coaching on the pool deck so my watch is great for quick emails and texts if an athlete will be out. I love all google products and use the calendar for my scheduling. I use the sheets to create my workouts, log athletes goals and other data. In the swimming world, all statistics are run through a software called Teamunify so I could not live without that as that keeps my swimmers times, meets, attendance and can run all my reports.
BSO: What was the best advice you received when you began your career ?
I would say that the best advice I was given was from 2 different role models at 2 different parts of my life. In college, my coach said never act as if you know anything and always ask why someone did something. This has allowed me to take so much away from other great coaches. My most recent manager said that if you want to reach the top level of competition in any sport, you have to follow and not lead. This has helped me to make friendships with other top level coaches and not be seen as a threat but as a person looking to help and learn from them.
BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?
Attending and graduating from Simmons College in Boston. This was the hardest for me as I have a learning disability called Dyslexia. I was told my freshman year of highschool that I would be lucky to attend a community college and, after that, not to expect much.
Getting into a private school like Simmons was my way of showing everyone who said I was unteachable that they were wrong. Then choosing to attend Simmons College where I swam all 4 years and spent an extra year and a half to get a dual masters in teaching has opened so many doors for me. I found my love for coaching and education there in my sport of swimming. I proved to myself that my limitations are nothing more than self doubt and I am capable of anything.
BSO: What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “High Performance Habits” How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard; #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author.
BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
Working for the YMCA of Greater Boston.
I came in to a swim team that was going to shut down because they did not have the funding or numbers to keep it. I worked with people within that community, local business and the Thomas M. Menino Family to re-create their swim team. We offer a 100% financial aid system for families in need. This included the yearly team cost and fees, a Swimsuit, Team shirt, Water bottle, covering all their meet entry fees and anything else they needed such as swim caps and goggles.
BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?
My Two Swim Coaches. My Boys and Girls club coach Sherrel Farrell for showing me that the sport of swimming can and should be accessible to everyone, no matter your age, ability, background or finances. Then, my college coach Melinda Williams for making me a true athlete with a love for the sport but also giving me my first lead coaching job and teaching me what it means to be a coach, leader and role model in someone’s life.
BSO: What is your advice for young professionals?
My advice is that life’s meant to test you, to push you down and make you fall or fail. We all have our problems and challenges. Our responsibility is to push back each and everyday. To show up better than you were yesterday. To rise in that testing moment for you never know that impact you could have on someone else through your experiences and challenges.