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North Shore Swim Club Coach, Meaghan Simpson

Hitting the water with North Shore Swim Club coach Meaghan Simpson.

Summer will soon come to a close, which, for most of us, means packing up our bathing suits and towels and settling in for The Long Wait until next year’s pool season. But for 30-year-old Meaghan Simpson, a Salem resident and coach for the North Shore Swim Club-she’s also Swampscott High School’s varsity swim and dive head coach-peak pool season is about to arrive. Here, Simpson talks to Northshore about life in the pool and the 30-minute rule.

How long have you been a swimmer? My mom likes to tell me that I swam before I walked. I was always the last kid in the pool or ocean in the summers, always pruney and blue-lipped. [I swam] competitively in high school and college, and [through] two years of [a master’s program], so I believe that would make a grand total of 12 years competitively.

How did you get to be a coach? I started coaching at 18 at the same local YMCA where I taught lessons because [coaching] paid more than teaching lessons. But I fell in love with teaching the kids, then going to meets and seeing them apply the things we worked on in practices for hours and weeks, and then seeing their faces light up when they accomplished a goal or won their first race.

Any favorites in this month’s Olympics? I’m excited to see Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte go head to head. I’m also excited to see Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old from Colorado who has had a breakout year. She could be the next Phelps. And James Magnussen from Australia, who is the new sprint freestyle king of the world. As exciting as London is going to be, I’m looking forward to the 2016 summer games in Rio; it will be a changing of the guard, so to speak, for our sport.

Should we really wait 30 minutes after eating before getting in the pool? Hmm. I have been known to eat a loaded bacon cheeseburger before swimming and be fine. I have also had a banana and Gatorade before swimming and thought I was going to drown because of it. I think it all depends on the day and the weather.

Pool or ocean? The pool for me has always been a place of work. Between teaching lessons, lifeguarding, my own workouts, and running practice, the pool is where I get things done. The ocean is where I decompress and relax. There’s something about the salt water that soothes my soul.  -L.L.