Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 16, 2013
Congrats to Whitney Hedgepeth, who nabbed Coach of the Year honors at the U.S. Masters Swimming annual convention this weekend.
Hedgepeth has been correcting stroke flaws, providing encouragement and doling out challenging workouts since she took over the masters program at Longhorn Aquatics in 2005. Through the program, she coaches about 200 adults - competitive swimmers, fitness swimmers, triathletes and open-water swimmers who range in age from their 20s to their 70s.
A 27-time All-American who swam for the University of Texas and went on to win two silver medals in backstroke and one gold in the 400 medley relay at the 1996 Olympic Games, she was inducted into the UT Women’s Hall of Honor in 2007.
Many of her swimmers at Longhorn Aquatics pitched in to nominate her for the Coach of the Year honor.
"She is simply tops, and in addition Whitney is just a genuinely good person," swimmer James Murff wrote in the application.
"Five years ago I finished dead last in all six of my events, (and) now I rank in the top 10 in most of my events," Bess Hilpert wrote.
Katy Dooley, who this year completed the final leg of Triple Crown of Swimming, which includes the Catalina Channel, the English Channel and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, said she appreciates Hedgepeth’s no-nonsense approach to training.
"Whitney’s energy and passion for swimming is electric," she wrote.
And Beth Plevitch said Hedgepeth’s commitment goes beyond the pool.
"Whitney cares. She cares for the team on a personal level asking about our lives and careers, and listening, and remembering to follow up on conversations in order to make each team member feel appreciated," Plevitch said.
Hedgepeth is married and has three children.