It’s dedication and passion that drives the Metro swimming and diving Head Coach Chris Farris to do what he does.
After swimming and diving was demoted from a varsity sport, Farris took on the challenge of keeping the sport alive at Metro.
“I love the sport too much to just let it slip away,” Farris said. “I wanted the entire incoming freshmen class to have the same opportunities at competition that I had.”
Farris graduated from Metro in December 2008 with a degree in criminal justice, but has been a part of the swim team for roughly six years now. He can swim all four competitive strokes but he prefers to swim sprint breaststroke and sprint freestyle.
He swam for Metro from 2004-2008. Metro was the only school who recruited him to swim. In 2008, he returned as the president and coach of Metro’s swimming and diving team.
And it’s his team that continues to amaze him with their dedication.
“I’m proud that they continue to show me how well they can do and how fast they can swim. And, I’m proud, as a coach to see them all get better,” Farris said.
Farris, who has been swimming since he was 5 or 6 years old, credits his father for molding him into the athlete he is today.
“I’ve always pushed to be a better athlete because he was such a great athlete back in the day,” Farris said. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing the look on his face when I perform well at my sport.”
A few years ago, Farris had the opportunity to swim against Michael Phelps at a swim camp for kids in the five-state area at the University of Denver. Farris was one of the instructors for the kids and a lifeguard at the pool.
“I can honestly say that I raced Michael Phelps and beat him,” Farris said. “[Of] Course it wasn’t all swimming. It was over an inflatable island that I had hours and hours of playtime on, so I was pretty good at getting across it. But, I beat him.”
Farris has overcome many obstacles.
He went through five coaches in five years while he was on the varsity team at Metro. He worked endlessly to keep the team together by assistant coaching, helping teammates pass classes and helping out with personal problems. A goal for the future of the club is to go varsity again.
As a coach, Farris inspires and motivates his team to strive for improving their techniques.
“He just motivates everyone and he definitely helps everyone out with our strokes,” Meghann Castillo, a fellow teammate said. “I didn’t know how to swim last year at all and I came to the program and he was just so helpful. He gave me great
tips and just kept pushing me. He would never let me give up no matter how tired I was, he’d be like, ‘No keep going, push yourself.’”
In the future, Farris aspires to be a firefighter and recently finished his EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification. He’s currently working on applying to fire departments. Now, he has retired from competition but still works out on a daily basis.
“I just watch and I don’t dive in,” Farris said.
But it’s his passion for the sport that will never retire.
“I really enjoy the way that swimming is a sport where it’s just you against the elements,” Farris said. “I love how everything seems to melt away when I dive into cold water and do a workout. Troubles are gone, stress is gone, it’s perfect.”
Author: Lindsay Lovato
Lindsay Lovato contributed to The Metropolitan & TheMetOnline as a reporter and editor from 2009-2010.