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January Staff Spotlight

This month we'd like to shine the spotlight on Shankani, a fantastic member of our Y staff team, and the coach for our Swim League. Here's why she's so passionate about her work, in her own words:


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”I’ve been swimming since I was 7. My first ever swim lesson was actually at the Y in New York, and then from there one of the coaches saw me and said, “Hey, can I privately train you? You’re pretty good!” I started taking private lessons on the side, joined the high school team, joined the Master’s Team… I was in a bunch of teams. I got two Olympic qualification times, one in 2004, one in 2008, but I wasn’t able to go. After that, I moved to Texas to try my luck and see what I could do here. I taught my own private swim school for five years, and while I was teaching one of my students from the swim school at the Y’s pool (which isn’t really allowed, but I didn’t know the rules then), the coordinator offered me a job teaching swim lessons at the Y. That was about 2 years ago. I’ve worked with the North Austin Y’s swim team for about a year now. It’s rewarding. I love to see my swimming kids start from blowing bubbles to becoming a great swimmer and joining the swim team. It’s just really awesome. It’s like, the most rewarding thing that I could do.”


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“I’m expecting there to be 35 kids on the team starting up after the holiday break. The swim team is doing really well. We are 5 times undefeated champs in Boys 9-10 in 50 free, 50 fly, 50 back, and 50 breaststroke. I think we can go to States in June this year. We’re hoping to get qualified. We currently have 4 of the fastest swimmers in the league. I have pictures of them with their ribbons… ridiculously awesome!”


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“My goal is to get them to be an Olympian, hopefully, one day. I have an Olympic background, I know how to train them, I know how to get started... There is a path that’s already made for them. It’s just: are they determined enough to take it? And that takes being a good role model. We usually have talks every week about being a better person, respecting each other, teaching them manners, talking about drugs (because some of the boys are older!), telling them to be good people, to help each other out. If you see our team compared to other teams, like when we are out at actual meets, our team is literally together. Sitting in a little circle, all cheering each other on, and they’ll get up and stand at the end of the pool or lane and scream their lungs out to support each other. It’s beautiful to see. The other teams are all scattered about, they just swim and get out… but when you see our team it’s cool to watch.”


Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Shankani! We are truly thankful to have you on our team!