What brought you to work at UVAC?
I was a coach with North Country Aquatic Club (NCAC), since I was a freshman at Colby-Sawyer in 2002. NCAC was the team before UVAC was built. At the time, I was coaching NCAC and I had my own company LLC called, “Optimal Aquatics”. During the search for a new Head Coach for NCAC, I was part of the hiring committee. When I interviewed Dorsi Raynolds, I knew I wanted to work with her, learn, and be mentored by her. She was hired and UVAC became a reality more than just a dream of the NCAC parents. In November of 2008, I was hired as UVAC’s Aquatics & Fitness Coordinator & Head Age Group Swim Coach.
What is your swimming background?
I have been on a swim team since I was three and a half years old. My Dad, a swimmer, brought me to the pool, and my family saw that I, too, belonged in the pool. But my parents encouraged me to try other sports before landing on one. I hated other sports. So, along with Track & Field, and X-Country in high school, swimming became my main sport. I was on a swim team from 1987 until 2006 when I graduated from Colby-Sawyer College. Swimming grew from my sport and life-long passion, into my career. Technically, I have been a part of the swimming community for over 35 years.
What are some of your favorite memories of teaching students to swim or become more comfortable in the water?
I have so many memories! It’s the glimmer in the eyes of the little kids when they realize they are floating for the first time. Or when children are ecstatic about finding out that they can not only swim in the shallow end, but they can swim in the deep end, too. Or when a master’s swimmer gets out of practice and says that’s exactly what they needed to get through the rest of their day. Or the older adult who is participating in water aerobics and over the years forgot to prioritize their health, but has now lost a few pounds and gained so much freedom in their body with movement. Every day offers a favorite new memory.
If people want to take class or instruction with you, how do they do so?
What types of tools and methods do you use? Which do you find are most helpful to your students?
The main tool/method I bring to all the different water activities is my love of water and my love of people. People can feel how much I care about each of my athletes. I am good at bringing all my zest into each workout and getting people excited about moving their bodies.
Can you give examples of students who overcame their fears and what ultimately made the difference for them?
One person that really sticks out in my mind is this woman who was from India and had never had swim lessons as a child or an adult. She came to me wanting to learn to swim as a total beginner. We started from scratch; learning how to blow bubbles, move, and understand her buoyancy. She quickly went from never being in a pool to swimming laps for recreation.
What do you like most about working at UVAC?
I really love being on a team. People say that swimming isn’t a team sport but I have found over the past three decades that the friendships I have made through swimming have been my strongest relationships. UVAC is an amazing team and I am proud of the mission we all carry into each day.
The Upper Valley Aquatic Center, a non-profit organization, will deliver a diverse range of high-quality aquatic and fitness programs accessible to all members of the Upper Valley community. We promote fitness and wellness programs; as well as aquatic competition, education and safety.
Profile of Signe Linville as told to
Chris H. Hadgis, UVAC Member, writer and cyclist