San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving assistant coach Chris Michelmore is currently in the process of completing the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Fellows program.
Michelmore, now in his first season as the Spartans’ full-time assistant under head coach Sage Hopkins, after spending the previous two years serving as the volunteer assistant coach, was one of 11 applicants around the country to get accepted into the prestigious program this past summer. Hopkins himself was a member of the Fellows class of 2000.
The Fellows program, a year-long coach mentorship program aimed at developing the future coaching leaders of the sport of swimming, began with the announcement of the 2008 class during the board meeting at the annual World Clinic in Las Vegas, Nev., in early September. It goes through September of 2009, ending at next year’s World Clinic set for Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Each Fellow normally has a year to complete a project designed to advance the swimming body of knowledge. The Fellow works on the project while guided by a mentor. For the first time in the history of the program, the 11-person class is working on one Fellows project together as a group. Named Protect, Preserve and Expand NCAA Swimming, the project calls for the candidates to work with leaders in American swimming, and head up an initiative with the goal in mind of teaching teams how to do all three: Protect, Preserve and Expand their programs.
“We are finding out what schools need, what their necessities are, and trying to teach them how to improve their own programs, so that they can become more sustainable,” explained Michelmore. “We are teaching them how to be more active in the community. Basically, we’re just trying to go out to different schools, find out what they are lacking, and then put together packages for different situations and circumstances that schools can pull from. These are packages of information, of sources, step-by-step procedures of accomplishing their goals, so that the schools are more self-reliant and can continue to add more programs, rather than have them taken away, which is the trend right now around the country.
“It means a great deal. Only a handful of people around the country are selected. I don’t know how many people actually apply, but it’s a pretty large number. I applied last year, and didn’t get accepted, so I was really excited to get accepted this year. I get to work with the founding fathers of modern USA swimming. These are the people who are the mentors of the mentors. These are the people who affect everything that we do on a large scale, and I get to work directly with them, in trying hopefully to make our sport better.”
Michelmore, a 2006 graduate of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and former four-year swimmer for the Mustangs, has been keeping busy both on and off the pool deck. He also recently earned his Level 1 CrossFit certification at the end of a two-day process at a CrossFit training center in Aromas, Calif., September 27-28.
“CrossFit is a general conditioning program that basically focuses on being the best at the most things,” added Michelmore. “What I’m trying to take from it is how to apply it to swimming. It’s about figuring out how to apply a general conditioning program, and seeing how it can benefit our sport both physically and mentally. There is a huge mental aspect to it.
“One thing is for sure. Our girls have embraced this new program with incredible enthusiasm, and we are seeing direct benefits.”