Carson Sundem, 20, has brought passion and a new perspective to the ACP swim team in his first year as a coach. Together with veteran coach Kristine Nelson, Sundem is looking to continue to improve the ACP swim program in the years to come.
Sundem has coached younger swimmers in the past, but high school swimming is a whole new territory. However, Nelson has been impressed with Sundem thus far.
“He brings so much passion and determination and competition into our team that it far outweighs what he may not have been exposed to yet,” Nelson said.
Sundem’s youth has helped him connect with the athletes he is coaching. Junior Pauline Kousoulas feels that Sundem understands what the swimmers are going through and is able to help them successfully balance their school and swim lives.
While some might think Sundem’s proximity in age to the athletes he’s coaching would hinder his success as a coach, that has not been the case. Sophomore Ethan Ruhl says that Sundem’s age helps the team to see him as a friend and a coach at the same time.
“It actually helps the team listen to him more,” said Ruhl.
ACP swim has placed a focus on making everyone feel welcome and included on the team and that mentality starts with the coaches. It is not always easy for a coach to be a part of a team family, but Sundem has had no trouble fitting in.
“A lot has been said about the family that we have as a team but it’s like he is a part of their family,” said Nelson.
Sundem has already seen the team find great success in his first season as a coach. He credits much of the team’s success to the dedication of the swimmers and the coaching balance he and Nelson have found.
ACP is looking to have a bright future and Sundem is hopeful that the team will build upon the successes they have had this year. Sundem and Nelson look forward to working together in the future and continuing to build the team.
Sundem has proven himself as an effective and passionate coach this season. Nelson is looking forward to seeing his growth as a coach in the future and is hoping to push him to take on more coaching responsibilities.
“I’m going to put him in those positions because I know he can lead,” said Nelson.
As far as the future success of the team, Sundem is determined to improve the team every year. This young ACP swim team has already had lots of success and Sundem knows they can build on this success in future season.
Sundem hopes to see the experience level of the team improve every year with more club swimmers on the roster, and most swimmers making it to states every year. He credits the swimmers with working every day to improve not only individually, but as a team.
“We’re going to see it through, and I know that because I know how hard these kids are working,” said Sundem.
Kathryn Field is a sports journalism student at Arizona State University covering Arizona College Prep athletics.