The Lakeside Experience

Photo Courtesy Of Chip Dumstorf.

Ever since its inception in 1928, the Lakeside Swim Team has been a source of community pride for the city of Louisville. Lakeside has produced many Olympic, Pan American and college swimmers over the years, and their success has continued to mount. The team has been committed to excellence, dedication and hard work as each team member is afforded the opportunity to reach his or her full potential as an athlete and as an individual. I had a Q&A with Coach Mike Deboor, Lakeside’s swim coach, and Cole Brown, one of his emerging swimmers who will be a senior at St. X next school year, to gain their perspective on their experiences and why the program has been successful.

Coach Mike Deboor

What have you enjoyed most about coaching at Lakeside?

“It has to be the kids. Just like any coach or teacher, we are motivated by seeing young people be happy and successful. I’ve been lucky enough to have some world class swimmers as well, and highlights are having three Olympians and a huge number on the US National Teams. But daily it’s that a majority of the kids are willing to work and at least try to be their best. I still enjoy seeing the really young ones and their excitement.”

How have you been able to produce great athletes?

“I think through hard work, I feel I work very hard and that gets the kids to want more. I have high expectations and very little pleases me so I think that drive leads the swimmers to want more. I feel I am very good with understanding technique and what gets a swimmer to move through the water well.  We’ve been blessed with some very talented swimmers as well – that always helps, I also feel I relate easily to kids and understand them. I think through experience and then the kids wanting to live up to the tradition which drives them to excel.”

How do you challenge swimmers? 

“I challenge their abilities and get them to race, raise their expectation level as well as raise their satisfaction level – also by never being overly excited I think they push to try and see me get excited so they’re always expecting more.” 

How do you see the program growing in the future? 

“We graduated over 60 swimmers in the past four years and some of them are our very best so we have a lot of work to do in the next few years. We will be weaker as a team for a bit and there are some good young ones coming up, but we need depth as well as a few superstars.  I would say we’ll have a few down years then see some great swims. We have good numbers, but many are not as committed or haven’t yet understood what it takes to be a great athlete.”

Let’s talk about Cole Brown. What have you found to be unique about him?

“Work ethic! He is a great teammate, very hard worker and really has a deep desire to be his best.”

How you have seen him grow?    

“Cole is just steady and consistent in his work. Everything he has accomplished he has worked for.”

What intangibles have you seen in him that perhaps haven’t been revealed in other swimmers? 

“Talent, work ethic and a desire to make a sacrifice and reach a high expectation or satisfaction level.”

Swimmer Cole Brown

Describe your experience swimming at Lakeside.

“My experience at Lakeside as a swimmer could only be described as something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ve come to know my teammates and coaches as family and know that I’ve made relationships that will remain for years to come. Yes, the practices can be painful, but that’s one of the reasons why Lakeside is the best in the state and one of the best in the country. Seeing myself and my teammates improve over the years has been an amazing journey and I’ll carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.”

How has Lakeside helped you to grow as a swimmer?

“Without Lakeside I know that I wouldn’t be nearly the swimmer that I am today. This team has instilled in me traits that I not only use in swimming, but also in life. The hard practices have taught me how to be resilient, my teammates have shown me how to be there for others in hardship and success and my coach, Mike, has taught me how to overcome any obstacle thrown my way and use it to be an even better athlete.”

What skills will you be able to transfer to high school competition?

“Over the years, Lakeside has instilled in me a number of skills such as perseverance, teamwork and a mindset that is optimistic. I not only apply these skills to the pool, but also in the classroom. Lakeside has prepared me to stay on track with my work and make sure it’s to the best of my ability, work well with others on group projects and most importantly, have fun while doing it. High school competitions go by very quickly so it is important to learn from a bad race and be ready to bounce back and kick butt on the next race. Lakeside has taught me to appreciate the failures alongside the successes because we learn from them when we fail and no one should take that for granted.”

Are you planning to swim in college? If so, how does Lakeside prepare you for the next level?

“I do plan on swimming in college. Throughout this exciting recruitment process, Mike has guided and encouraged me. I sat down and had a one-on-one meeting with Mike and he explained to me how to have a good conversation with a coach, told me what schools could be a good fit for me and we talked about what schools I was interested in and what we could both do to make that happen for me. Mike wants the world for his swimmers and it is an honor to be coached by him. He has gone to great lengths to make sure that his swimmers are enjoying the sport and the recruiting process.” VT