Form 2 Dean and science teacher Clayton Miles is the passionate, dedicated, and competent swim coach who has been coaching at Kingswood Oxford for thirty years. He has coached both middle school and varsity swim teams over his coaching career at KO. He even coaches middle school boys lacrosse, though he describes himself as a swim coach. “I know swimming inside and out,” Mr. Miles said. “I know basics, I know the current theory, I talk to college coaches, I talk to high school coaches. I am a swim coach. In lacrosse, I know lacrosse, but I am completely a basics lacrosse coach.”
The most prominent difference he noticed transferring from coaching varsity swimming to coaching middle school swimming was that the athletes were more open-minded to improvement. “The biggest challenge in middle school is paying attention and actually caring as much as I do about it and I get that, that’s okay,” he said. However, he noted the upper school team has a different mindset. “The upper schoolers have a tendency to think they know it all when they don’t,” he said. Assistant Coach Erika Costantini said the reason why athletes admire Mr. Miles as a coach so much is because of his enthusiasm and expertise in the sport. “He combines a real passion for the sport. I’m just beyond impressed with his knowledge of the finer details of technique and the knowledge of the sport he brings,” she said.
Every day at practice he concentrates on a particular technique of his swimmers’ strokes. “We detail every part of our race from the way we get into the water to the way we go through the water to the way we propel ourselves through the water to the way we change directions and all of this is in an environment that we weren’t born to be in,” said Mr. Miles describing what the team focuses on at practice.
Eighth-grader and three-year member of the middle school swim team Hannah Krause said she especially benefited from Mr. Miles manner of coaching. “He focuses more on developing your technique before you can go faster, so to me that makes more sense than learning to go fast and having your stroke become bad,” said Krause.
Be courageous. That is the advice Mr. Miles gives to his swimmers each swim season. “If you are not willing to put yourself out there and you’re not willing to take risks, you’re never going to improve. Ever,” Mr. Miles said. He also said that attitude is a key factor in improving as a swimmer and as a person. No matter what sport you play, this advice unquestionably should be considered because any athlete would be unwise to ignore the advice of one of the best coaches KO has ever employed.