For coach Karen Tubb and her family, swimming is a tradition that spans generations.
Karen has coached swimming for 32 years, including the Raccoon Valley Swim Club for the past 11 years and two other summer swim clubs. She has also been coaching at the TNT program for the past six years and coached at GPAC for many years before that. Her sons Mike and Shane Tubb now join her as head coaches for the Raccoon Valley Swim Team.
Karen had the pleasure of coaching all four of her children during the summer and three of them in USS swimming, an experience that has been both fun and challenging. “I truly loved every minute of it. How many other people get to spend that much time with their children, watching them and helping them do something they love and achieving the goals they set for themselves?”
Karen’s four children all earned both athletic and academic college scholarships. Her son Mike graduated with honors from Rider University with a degree in Social Studies Education. He swam all four years at Rider and is a record holder. Mike was an assistant coach at Rowan University this past year and next fall he will work at Rider while finishing his Masters in Administration.
Karen’s youngest son, Shane, will be a Junior at Rider next fall and is also majoring in Social Studies Education. He’s a record holder in butterfly and is on a record-holding relay team as well. Both Shane and Mike attended St. Augustine Prep in Swedesboro.
Karen’s daughter, Cassie, graduated from the College of Charleston. She too was a swimmer, and often helps out at practices and meets. Her other daughter, Desiree, attended UMBC and now lives in Maryland. Although she was a runner in college, she married a swimmer, so the tradition lives on!
At Raccoon Valley meets and practices, you’ll also see Karen’s parents, John and Claire Schwerzler, supporting them all every step of the way. “My parents have been the backbone of our family. They have supported all of us in everything we have done,” says Karen. “They never missed any activity we took part in and they have never missed anything any of their grandchildren have taken part in.”
Karen treats her team like family, too. Corey Hardesty, the assistant coach at Raccoon Valley, is practically like another son to Karen. “I love all these kids at Raccoon Valley and often refer to them as my other kids,” she says. For Karen, the biggest reward is seeing the kids she coaches grow as individuals, not only as swimmers, but also as people.
She challenges them to do their best and to take pride in their accomplishments. “I love the smiles on their faces when they have done something they didn’t think they could.” But, more importantly, she stresses to the kids the importance of good conduct. “I want them all to learn that in life, no matter what you do, you win with grace and lose with grace.”
From the littlest members of the kickboard team mustering the courage to jump in, to the serious swimmers on the verge of setting a new record, the Tubb family is dedicated to helping them all become the very best they can be.