MAKING A SPLASH: Natalie Vercher will bring a wealth of experience to her role as the newest coach of the Mildura Swimming Club. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
By MITCH RODD
IF Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton has been your training partner, you clearly have a talent for swimming.
Natalie Vercher has that in spades, and it has transferred across to her coaching as well.
The 23-year-old myotherapist is the newest coach to join the ranks of the Mildura Swimming Club and is hoping to pass on her experience at State and National levels to club members.
The Werribee native trained in Melbourne under former Olympian Craig Jackson. While she hasn’t competed for about five years, she has come on leaps and bounds in her coaching.
Natalie recently moved to Mildura with her partner, who is a member of Victoria Police, however she has yet to work with Mildura Swimming Club members due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“I’m really keen to meet the kids,” she said.
“Obviously, the whole isolation thing has meant I can only meet them online. I can’t wait to head down to the pool and work with them.
“Coaching was one thing I definitely wanted to continue doing when I came up here.
“My partner is originally from Euston, so we decided to make the move. Isolation has made things a bit tricky but at least the weather has been great!”
Natalie started competitive swimming at age six, and as she got older, she made numerous Australian and Victorian swimming teams.
“I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Japan, as well as many interstate trips for swimming,” she said.
“When I was about 16 or 17, I made the move to the city and began training under Craig Jackson. Mack Horton was my training partner, and I trained with a number of other Olympians as well. I was training to be a distance freestyler there.
“When I was completing Year 12 it got to the stage where it was just too much for me and I took some time off from swimming. That’s when I got into coaching.
“I absolutely loved it and it’s been something I’ve done ever since, while I haven’t really competed since that time.
“I loved it (coaching) at all ages. Any chance I could, I was helping to coach, and I worked at Melbourne Girls Grammar where I worked with a number of different age groups and levels.”
Natalie said working as a myotherapist has proven beneficial when it comes to coaching.
“I spent a lot of time with myotherapists while I was competing as I’ve been riddled with shoulder injuries, and they were always fantastic with me,” she said.
“Swimming is such a good exercise, especially for rehabilitation, as it’s non-weight bearing.
“Injury prevention is a big part of what I do. You would be surprised at how young of an age kids could get injured.
“I’m also massive on teaching proper technique. It’s the most fundamental thing you can learn and get right. Speed will come later on but if a swimmer doesn’t have the correct technique as they get stronger, it can lead to injuries.
“I’m so excited to meet the kids. I was lucky enough to have some great coaches who swam at a high level, and I think just having that experience means you can bring something different to the table.”
Natalie joins Josh Barila, Ben Tallent, Maddy McManus and Jaqui Bunney as a coach of the club.
Josh said Natalie will be a strong addition to the coaching ranks.
“Getting someone with Natalie’s experience and expertise is great to have at Mildura Swimming Club,” he said.
“Natalie has been coaching for six years now, ranging from levels of National and State swimmers, to learn to swim and school swimmers.
“She loves watching swimmers grow, achieve new skills and goals, creating strong swimmer-coach and coach-parent relationships, but most importantly; assisting in giving swimmers strong life skills that you gain through swimming.”