When I think about something that is so very important to me, that shaped who I am today, and that continues to have a profound influence on my life, one word comes to mind: swimming.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Sara Shepherd and I have recently taken on the role of Coaches Co-Chair alongside Matt Miller, as well as Awards Chair. I have been interested in getting more involved with OMS and am excited to be given this opportunity. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences in the sport of swimming and most importantly, getting to know a lot more members of this amazing swimming community.
I was born and grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and started swimming competitively at the age of seven. Sports were a huge part of my life growing up. I competed in many different types of sports, but swimming always came out on top. Swimmers are a special group of people, and the friendships I’ve made throughout my swimming career is one of the main reasons I stuck with the sport for so long. I attended and swam at Penn State University, where I was named Captain my senior year, and was fortunate to be part of two Big Ten Championship teams (2002, 2005). Swimming in college was one of the most demanding and rewarding experiences of my life. I was challenged physically and mentally every day, and I would do it all over again. After my collegiate swimming career was over, my competitive spirit stayed strong. I continued to swim (on my own terms) and started to compete in triathlons and running races. In 2010, I competed in my first Masters swim meet since college, and that’s when I got hooked all over again. Improving my Masters times and climbing up the top ten national ranking lists in my age group continue to be the driving force that motivates me to keep going.
Throughout high school, college and beyond, I have also coached summer high school, club and Division I collegiate level swim teams. I have always enjoyed working with and teaching swimmers of all ages about the sport of swimming. Sharing my experiences and watching them improve has been truly rewarding.
Moving to Oregon in January, 2015, was easily the best decision I have ever made. I lived in Astoria for about a year and a half, training on my own and helping to coach the local club team. Training alone is not easy, so I was overjoyed and super pumped when I was given the opportunity to move closer to Portland for work. I currently live in Beaverton, and train with the Tualatin Hills Barracudas. I can’t say enough good things about the team, and many have become my closest friends out here in Oregon. Knowing I have such a great group of friends and training partners on the team makes it a heck of a lot easier to get out of bed when the alarm goes off before 5:00 am, and head off to practice. Since moving to Beaverton, I have competed in a few Association Championships meets, which I look forward to each spring. I love how all of the Masters teams in Oregon come together and race! It’s also fun to catch up with fellow swimmers who live and train farther away, and to meet new swimmers as well! I also competed in the 2016 Long Course USMS Summer Nationals in Gresham, and most recently the 2018 Short Course USMS Spring Nationals in Indianapolis. Spring Nationals was such an electrifying meet! Such great competition, and I absolutely loved representing Oregon Masters Swimming with my teammates. I currently hold a USMS Level 1 & 2 Coaches Certification, and was the assistant coach to Matt Miller at this past Spring Nationals. I also volunteer coach a few times a month for the Tualatin Hills Barracudas (THB) Masters team.
I am definitely ready for more racing and coaching out here in Oregon, and as Coaches Co-Chair with Matt, I look forward to teaching more about the sport and meeting many new swimmers. I am more than motivated to continue improving and doing what I love. I hope I can inspire other fellow swimmers to work hard for what they want and to help them achieve their goals. Swimming is my passion and I am looking forward to many more years in the pool and on the pool deck. Please feel free to contact me at any time. See you at the pool!