MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit Valley YMCA has two new coaches for its Chinooks swim team.
Carol Mochkatel takes over as coach and Kelsey Johnson as assistant coach of the year-round dual YMCA/USA Swimming age-group team.
Mochkatel has coached swimmers from beginning levels to national and international level competitions.
Johnson, a Sedro-Woolley High School graduate, has been a coach for Anacortes' Thunderbird Aquatic Club as well as a co-coach at Sedro-Woolley and Burlington-Edison high schools.
Mochkatel began her coaching career at the Mission Viejo Nadadores Swim School, a swimming academy that has won 47 National Team Championships and whose team members have won 20 Olympic medals and set 22 world records.
That success continued when she relocated to Camano Island.
So what led Mochkatel to being interested in coaching the Chinooks?
"Untapped potential in the greater Skagit Valley area," she said. "... Watching their growth, improvements, enthusiasm and confidence grow. It’s been pretty special to be part of that.
"The support of the swimmers, parents and our aquatic director, Justin Davis, has been humbling. I’ve been able to open the team to a whole new world of swimming from what they knew."
The YMCA becoming an official member of USA Swimming about a year ago. That also played a role in Mochkatel joining the program.
"It (USA Swimming) offers greater opportunities and levels for competition," she said. "It also offers education for swimmers, parents, coaches and clubs, plus stressing the importance of the technical side of swimming."
Johnson echoed the thoughts of her fellow coach.
"I believe in developing correct techniques for all levels of swimmers to prevent injury and help achieve swimmers' potential,” she said.
Then there is the importance of enjoying the sport.
"Swimming isn’t just about getting a best time every time they swim or how they place," Mochkatel said. "Most important is to have fun with the process."