Anna Tindall and Gabbie Adams were both 8 years old when they began their swimming careers, and, as far as they can remember, they started swimming with the Nampa Sharks Swim Team on exactly the same day.
Now, nine years later, these high school seniors spend more of their summer and school days in the pool at the Nampa Rec Center than they do at home.
Not only do they each swim at the top level for the club team, but they also coach younger swimmers in the summer league and during the school year in the evenings after their regular practice ends each weekday.
During the school year, the duo lifts weights at 5:45 a.m. at the Nampa Rec Center. Then they go to high school and immediately after school head back to the Rec Center for swim practice. They practice from 3:45-6:00 p.m. and then they alternate days to coach from 6:15-7:15 p.m.
“The Nampa Rec Center is like our second home,” Adams said.
Last season, Tindall placed first in the 2018 5A District 200 individual medley, and second in the 100-meter breaststroke. She finished fourth in both events at state. Adams placed second in the 100-meter freestyle and third in the 100-meter backstroke at District, and finished third and fifth in those events at state.
In club accomplishments, both girls are Speedo Sectional qualifiers and Snake River Winter Championship High Point award winners.
“Today’s youth are very capable and looking for opportunities to show their leadership,” coach Sam Burgi said. “Our junior coaching program allows athletes to transition into a more formal leadership role. As a junior coach, expectations are elevated and coaches are given additional opportunities to demonstrate and develop their leadership and critical thinking abilities.”
“At first when Coach Sam asked me to coach, I thought that is a good way to give back to the sport,” Tindall said. “What I have realized since then is the kids teach me more than I teach them. They teach me how to be a better teammate because they care more about their teammates’ races than their own races, and that is so awesome to see. It reminds me not to get so focused on myself.”
After all of these years, was there ever a time when they wanted to quit?
“I think that everyone has had a time when they want to just be done,” Adams said. “You aren’t dropping time and you are tired of going to practice and coming home tired and hungry.”
For Tindall, that time was after the Winter Championship last year.
“I told my dad I was ready to quit and be done,” Tindall said. “It was probably an emotional response to a bad race, or something.”
But both athletes decided to keep going, and it has paid off.
“Your team really helps you,” Adams said. “The bad memories fade and you just keep going.”
So what is next?
“We are both hoping to swim in college,” Tindall said. “That is our goal and how we hope to pay for college. Definitely during the summers I would like to come home and continue coaching.”
Both girls have been communicating with and visiting NCAA Division I and Division II colleges around the country with strong swim programs and hope to make their final decisions by later this fall.
“We have worked so hard for this and I am learning how to enjoy it,” Tindall said. “Getting college calls is a like a reward for everything we have worked for. If a coach is interested in you, it is something to really be proud of.”
Adams added, “Getting a college swimming scholarship is kind of like a childhood dream. You hear all of those success stories and I think that would be so cool for a girl from Nampa, whose parents grew up in Parma, to do something like that and be one of those success stories.”
In addition to their own ambitions, both have goals for the swimmers that they coach.
“I want my swimmers to find a bond with the people that they go to practice with,” Adams said. “My teammates are like my family. I try to guide them on a path where they can be as happy as I am now. A big part of swimming is being humble, and that humility will make them a better person later on in life.”
So what would they say to an 8-year-old on the first day of practice? Tindall smiled and said, “Get in the water and swim. Have fun and know that you can do this. Having encouraging parents, coaches, and teammates helps you want to keep going.”