Hey—it’s me, Toda, again! I want to tell you more about our awesome team and introduce you to Coach Lucas! I’m sure you have seen him back at the pool, now that he has finally returned from his fishing expedition in Alaska.
Coach Lucas is the kind of guy you can talk to and joke with for hours on end. He cares deeply for the students under his supervision, and it shows everyday. He loves kids so much that he just applied for a youth specialist position through the Peace Corps. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; first, read on to learn about how he came to be one with the water.
Tell us about your background. What was the swim culture like when you were a child and/or where you grew up?
I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah but moved to Boise when I was four years old. I learned how to swim at the West YMCA. From what I remember they seemed to be very big into swimming and other aquatics-related activities.
How did you feel about the water when you were a kid?
I loved the water! You practically couldn’t keep me away from it. The older I got the more I wanted to swim, and once I entered high school I joined Bishop Kelly High School’s swim program.
Describe an experience you had in the water that changed your perspective of swimming.
I was a lifeguard at the West YMCA and on several occasions I would have to jump in to save someone from drowning. Those moments always made me realize how important it is to know how to swim.
Tell us more about your experience teaching, whether swim classes or elsewhere.
I used to teach swim lessons at the West YMCA, and that was the first time I had ever taught anything before. I was scared at first to teach such an important life skill to little children thinking that I wouldn’t properly teach the stroke. But I soon became very confident in my teaching abilities and loved the work that I was doing.
What do you love most about teaching? swimming? teaching swimming?
There are two things that I love about being a swim instructor. The children make my day! I can have the worst day of my life, but just having one child smile or laugh just turns that frown upside down. I love the energy I get from the kids during swim lessons.
The second thing I love about being a swim instructor is the facility I work at. I love Flow Aquatics and all the amazing staff I work with. Ever since day one I have enjoyed my time with Flow Aquatics and I appreciate all the amazing friendships I have created over the year.
What is your number one recommended swim safety tip?
Always swim with a buddy!!
Do you have any relevant awards or achievements?
I am an Eagle Scout and I believe that my many years of being a Boy Scout have allowed me to be a better leader both on land and in the water. I also qualified for the 100 backstroke in state swimming during my junior year of high school.
You left FLOW this summer to work in Alaska; what kind of
work were you doing there?
In Alaska I work on a commercial fishing boat called the Francis G. On the boat it is my job to catch, clean, and ice the fish so they can be sold to local canneries or tenders (mobile fish processing boats).
I love my job even though at times it can get a little lonely. My uncle is the captain, and it’s just him and I out on the water for three whole months! To most people the job sounds crazy, because of the isolation from the “real world”, and you don’t have contact with anybody besides the other fishermen. Regardless of all that, I love what I do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else during the summer.
Can you see yourself continuing to work in this capacity professionally?
I could see myself doing this job in the future, but I wouldn’t want it to be my career. The fishing business can be good and it can also be bad. During the bad years, one has to pay attention to how they will support themselves during the off season. So even though I love the work, I don’t really care for the uncertainties it can bring.
Does the work you do on a fishing boat prepare you for the real world? For instance, when working at FLOW, do certain traits/skills transfer over to the workplace?
Working on a fishing boat prepares you for the real world in the sense that one has to work hard to get the things they want. Fishing can be brutal at times and life isn’t always kind either. Fishing and teaching swim lessons have this in common: it is important to work as a team to achieve the goals you want.
We are excited for your upcoming adventure with the Peace Corps. What got you interested in applying?
I am a social work major finishing up my senior year at Boise State University. I have always had a passion for working with people and helping those less fortunate. I also have a big appetite for travel and figured that the Peace Corp would encompass both my passion to help others and my love for travel.
What program are you applying for? When do you want to start?
The programs I am applying for are: youth specialist in Macedonia and the Ukraine, and education teacher in Guyana. You are given lots of different programs to choose from and these are the three I chose. If accepted, I will leave September 13th, 2016 and will be out of the United States for two years.
What kind of work do you see yourself doing in the future?
The Peace Corp and similar jobs are the kinds of things I picture myself doing. One day I hope to direct my own IYR (Idaho Youth Ranch) program or something similar to it either in Idaho or somewhere else.
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Wow, what a catch we’ve landed ourselves here at FLOW! Not only does Coach Lucas have experience working with Alaska’s most prized fish, he knows how to work with our student fish back at the FLOW Aquatics pool. In the future, Coach Lucas has his sights set on swimming high upstream, and we have no doubt he will accomplish big things. But before he can leave to pursue his dreams, he still owes us some of that fresh-caught salmon from his Alaskan adventure.
Until next time…