By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Wednesday, October 10, 2018Ninety-Six of the top junior swimmers in the country will converge on the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, October 11-14 and 25-28, for USA Swimming’s 2018 National Select Camp.
Forty-eight girls will attend the camp beginning this Thursday, while the boys will take to the pool two weeks from now. Swimmers were selected based on their top performances in 2018 and will have the opportunity to experience life as a national team athlete.
Christen Shefchunas, confidence coach and author of Naked Confidence: Revealing Your Whole Truth and Finally Moving Forward, will be a guest speaker at the camp.
1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do, and your involvement with swimming.
I grew up swimming. I swam at the University of Tennessee from 1993-1997. I then coached two years at the club level in Pittsburgh, where I’m from, then I moved up to the college ranks at Michigan State, SMU and the University of Miami. In 2013, I resigned and decided to start my own business. I loved the mental piece of swimming and helping people balance their life outside of sport, so I left to start speaking and working one-on-one with female athletes. In 2014, I was asked to speak at SwimMAC, and about three weeks later David Marsh offered me a job with Team Elite as a coach and confidence coach. Eventually I went back to my business and that’s where I am today.
2. What do you plan to address at the national select camp talk?
My whole focus is on confidence. I’m a believer that fear is coming, doubt is coming – it’s about learning how to handle the fears and doubts and not allowing them to have power over you. Also, building real confidence. We have a confused definition of confidence these days, so it’s about helping athletes build real confidence and creating a life where that confidence is consistent.
3. Who have you worked with in swimming to help build confidence?
I’ve worked with Katie Meili, Hali Flickinger, Missy Franklin – I’ve also worked with many college athletes and athletes in other sports. [To read more about Coach Christen and her work, check out her website at coachchristen.com]
4. What advice would you give to these swimmers at the camp and elsewhere?
I’m a believer that if you don’t learn how to handle your fears, you’ll never be confident. The first step is admitting that fear is there, and being honest about the fears and doubts and then learning how to handle them.
5. What are you most looking forward to about speaking at the camp?
I’ve never been to the Olympic Training Center so I’m really excited to be there, and I’m thrilled that USA Swimming has invited me. It’s the top of our sport, the governing body, and I’m humbled and thrilled and can’t wait to see the kids.