Creating an environment where kids feel safe to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them is important to the new Kansas City Blazers Swim Team Head Coach George Adcock.
“My goal is to create a nurturing and safe environment that gives our kids an opportunity to try and experiment and push themselves to places that they’ve never been without feeling like they’re going to walk away and the world’s going to end, is my goal,” Adcock said. “Because swimming takes lots of practice and you’re not going to be perfect at it every time.”
After working as a Blazers site coach since September 2015, Adcock was selected as only the third coach in the history of the 40-plus-year-old swim team. He began in the new position on June 2.
“We have been around a long time,” he said of the team, “and swimming, and sports in general has modernized, and the culture has changed. I hope to bring a little more of a modern approach to it. I think kids these days are under different pressures than they were 40 years ago, I believe recognizing that and understanding that is important if we’re trying to relate to kids and provide them with a space where they can enjoy themselves and be successful, without putting too much pressure on them. Everything has become results-based, and we’re trying to go back towards a more process-oriented (approach). If you do things the right way with the right intentions, most of the time, you get good results.”
A native of Aukland, New Zealand, Adcock moved to the U.S. about 11 years ago at age 26. He worked for about six years in various coaching roles, including head coach, for the TOPS Swim Club with a YMCA in Oak Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Because his wife is from Iowa, he moved to the Midwest, where he was with the Iowa Flyers Swim Team in Iowa City, serving in the roles of pre elite lead coach, and assistant coach. Adcock holds a conjoint bachelor’s degree in philosophy and international business from the University of Auckland.
The Blazers’ long history is a definite strength of the team, he said.
“They’re one of the premium teams in the Midwest, and that name recognition provides a lot of opportunity, but we have to take care of it and that public image,” the head coach said. “We currently have 340-some members of the Kansas City Blazers, and it takes a lot of people to make that work and to make them feel like they have a place in the community. We have a lot of expertise in terms of coaching and our coaches have a lot of experience, but you can’t do any of that stuff if you don’t have a support base in the community around it that is enthusiastic and enjoys what is going on.”
The team’s biggest challenge, Adcock added, is finding pool space. The Blazers make every effort to work with local school districts to use pool time and space wisely, he noted. As of early November, the team is using six pools, and are excited about adding the new Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center, which is set to open Dec. 5, for both practices and meets.
In all, the team has five full-time coaches, including Adcock, and a full-time business manager.
The Blazers is a competitive swim team sponsored by JCPRD for ages six to 19. For more information about the Blazers, visit kcblazers.com