Get To Know North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Tom Yetter

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created October 31st, 2010 12:07:47 PM

Modified November 1st, 2010 01:22:34 PM

This interview is with North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Tom Yetter. Coach Yetter has had a very successful career thus far including having coached 46 athletes to over 180 Top 16/Top 10 times, over 30 Maryland State Records, and a National Age Group Relay record. Twelve of his athletes appear on the USA Swimming Top 100 All Time Times list in 52 different events.

In this SwimUtopia interview Coach Yetter tells us what he expects from NBAC this upcoming season and what caused him to go into coaching.

What team do you currently coach for?
Currently, I coach for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

What made you choose to take that coaching position?
Coaching at North Baltimore was such an amazing opportunity- I just couldn’t pass it up.  The opportunity to be with a club with such a long history of excellence was something that I think any age group coach would jump at.

What are some of the things that you expect from NBAC this upcoming season?
This upcoming season we expect to continue to push the limits with our senior swimmers and top age groupers.  In addition we are really trying to build up our age group program.  We have undergone a lot of changes in the last few years.  Our program, while it has gotten smaller as a whole, has become a bit top heavy numbers wise on the senior swimmer side.  We are really focusing on bringing in and developing a lot of 10&Unders and more specifically 8&Unders.  This is where a lot of my focus has been for the past few months.  As we go through the season we just need to get these swimmers excited and ready for the next level.

Where else have you coached?
I started coaching in the Summer at the Waugh Chapel Swim Club – the same club that I swam for as a kid.  From there I coached for a season at a club called BAY Aquatics, which is south of Baltimore and quickly moved to another local club in Severna Park, MD – the Stingrays.  After 3 years as the Head Coach of the Stingrays I moved over to NBAC in 2002.  I have been coaching all ages since then – dealing mostly with 11-12 year olds. 

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in coaching?
My biggest accomplishment as a coach has been the number of swimmers that I have coached to be Top 16/Top 10 in the country.  It is a high level goal and as an age group coach I take pride in helping as many athletes to that level as I can.

Is there any particular moment that stands out in your mind from coaching?

I have three. 

One was when I was just starting out as a coach and I worked with this little 9 year old girl.  She was very excited about making our Zone Team.  She made finals at the qualifying meet and announced to me: “I am going to make the Zone Team!”.  I responded with a casual “Oh Yeah?”.  She fired back with “I don’t know what that is, or how I am going to make it, I just know I will!”.  Of course she ended up making the team……

Another is when I coached a group of boys who were a few years away from becoming great swimmers.  Every single one of them made our LSC Championship Meet that season.  When the last boy made it, at the last meet before the Championship Meet, I will never forget how excited they were as a group.

Finally, I coached a 13 year old boy once who dropped over 40 seconds in a two month period in the 1500 Free to make Senior Nationals at our Zone meet.

All three of these moments are important – especially at a club like NBAC.  A swimmer with a huge dream realizing it.  A group of swimmers getting excited about a goal and pushing themselves towards it.  Finally, a swimmer making huge strides in a short period of time to achieve a high level goal.  Anything is possible.

What motivates you as a coach?
I love doing a great job.  I love helping swimmers improve and get faster.  There are so many different things to work on and perfect.  I don’t think I could imagine just having an office job….  There is always something new and exciting happening on the pool deck.

What do you do to motivate your swimmers?
There are so many different types of athletes and finding out what the best ways for each to improve is a challenge that I enjoy undertaking.  Everyone is a bit different.

Do you have any personal routines before the start of a swim meet?
I can get a little worked up so I try to be as relaxed as I can.  Sometimes I listen to music.  Sometimes I have a coke.  
What caused you to go into coaching?
My brother Paul asked me to help him coach our Summer club.  I was still swimming on the team but after practice I would help the 12&Unders.  I had so much fun.  Watching the improvement of the swimmers over the course of a few weeks got me hooked.  Everyone likes improving themselves and I enjoyed helping in that process.  

What are some things that people may not know about you?
I have five cats.  I have had two (Billy and Chili) since they were kittens – they are brothers and they are both 8 years old.  I have adopted three other cats over the past 2 years.  Two of them (Jackie and Jimmy) are 11 years old and Harry is 6 years old.  They are a lot of fun – they all have amazingly different personalities (kind of like swimmers!).  In my spare time I like cycling and doing remodeling projects around the house.