- Learn to Swim
- Age Group
- Injury Rehab
CV / Resume
Associate Professor of English2011-2012College of Alameda (Alameda CA)
Swim Coach and Personal Trainer2010-presentSan Francisco Bay Area
Assistant Swim Coach2010-2011Mills College (Oakland CA)
Book Seller2009-2012Bibliohead (San Francisco CA)
English and Math Tutor2009-2010Brainchild Tutoring (San Francisco CA)
Assistant Swim Coach2008-2009West Austin Athletic Club (Austin TX)
Assistant Swim Coach2002-2005Arkansas Dolphins (Little Rock AR)
Head Swim Coach and Head Lifeguard2002-2005Otter Creek Racquet Club (Little Rock AR)
Masters Degree English Literature2010-2012Mills College (Oakland CA)
BA English Literature2002-2005University of Arkansas
Learn to Swim
These lessons are appropriate for those swimmers who need to develop overall comfort and confidence in the water. Sessions focus on water safety techniques, learning to control your body in the water, and developing basic proper stroke mechanics. Swimmers will also work toward mastery of streamlining in the water, proper breathing technique, and building endurance.
Stroke Development & Technique
Geared toward those swimmers who are already fairly comfortable in the water, these lessons are designed to improve the strokes of swimmers who can swim, but who are often exhausted after doing so. Inefficiency is one of the greatest struggles that progressing swimmers face; these stroke development lessons will teach you the most efficient way to move through the water, explaining proper body position, stroke form, and kicking technique.
Swim for Fitness
These lessons are for those swimmers who want to improve their overall fitness but might not be ready to start registering for competition just yet. These sessions are multi-focused; sprints, drills for stroke improvement, and varying yardage combine to create challenging yet adaptable workouts that can be geared toward any fitness level.
Competition / Triathlon Preparation
If your strokes are strong but in need of fine tuning, or if you are hoping to develop a training program for a specific event, these lessons are individually tailored to meet your racing goals. This can involve aspects such as specific stroke analysis, sighting and transitioning, and/or developing a year long training and competition program that will have you in top form for a major race.
Taking on your first open water swim can be intimidating, to put it mildly. These open water lessons give you the added comfort of having a seasoned swimmer there to guide you. During these swims, you’ll be taught how to handle the roughness of open water; you will also become familiar with sighting, bilateral breathing, and the transition from swimming to running that occurs at the end of those open water events.
Personal training sessions can be individually designed to achieve your workout goals. There are options for crossfit style workouts, TRX workouts, more traditional strength training, or any combination thereof. The benefits of strength training, whether it be with olympic barbells or with your own body weight, are enormous. The power that you can gain from these sessions is guaranteed to improve your biking, running, and swimming. Lifting can make you more lean, or programs can be designed to build muscle mass. Whatever your goal, we can find our way there in the weight room.
Swimmers of all ages and abilities welcome. Session duration: 60-90 min.
For detailed information on pricing, please contact me for further discussion of your unique training needs.
“ I’ve been fairly active for most of my adult life, sports, weights, cardio, running. My routine mostly involved some combination of going to the gym and running long distance and I kept that up for a few years. I loved running, but realized that it was taking its toll on my body, knee pain, tight IT bands, etc. so I looked at other alternative forms of cardio. So my options were: Biking (takes too long), swimming (suck at it), tennis (court space is limited and tough on knees).
I decided to take up swimming and tried it on my own a few times. At the time I could barely swim 50 yards and realized swimming and stopping every 2-3 minutes was not an efficient form of cardio. Figured it wasn’t my cardiovascular endurance because I could run a marathon, so I decided to find someone to teach me how to swim.
I found Merritt and she worked with me for nearly 18 months. I started swimming 2x a week and she was extremely accommodating with my work schedule (I travel over 100,000 miles a year) and often on a few hours notice. For me flexibility was a high priority when I was evaluating working with someone.
She helped me develop an efficient stroke and the confidence to swim in the pool and in open water. We’d also focus on hard swim sessions where we’d go for yardage to get in a hard workout, which helped my endurance for other activities such as running. My second marathon time improved by over 20 minutes.
In March of 2011, roughly three months of swimming together, I decided to register for a 1 mile open water swim. A group of Merritt’s swimmers swam and a bunch of us placed in our age group!
Lastly, I’ve seen her work with young children both at an elite level and those who were non-competitive at the pool. She was a positive influence to them in and out of the pool and many parents also developed a strong repor with her as well. Most of Merritt’s swimmers came from word of mouth and that speaks to her reputation. ”
- Paul Lee (San Francisco, CA)
“ Waking up for 6:30am swim practice was hardly an easy feat. I bribed myself with bananas as motivation to walk to the pool those early mornings, but that got old after too many bananas. My saving grace and long-term motivation to get my butt out of bed was my swim coach, Merritt, and her unfailing excitement for working out. Every. Single. Day. She would tell us that she rode her bike to campus, had already run 4 miles and was doing her own crazy workout later in the day. And then she would jump in the pool with us. Merritt was a powerhouse that I wanted to be. She swam fast and she swam hard and she was unapologetic about being an incredibly strong woman. Her pink glitter TOMS were something to look forward to, along with her spontaneous inclusion in our swim meet races, just for the fun of it. Merritt helped me with my swim technique, but more than that, she kept me in the water on days that all I wanted to do was get out and forget about swimming, and that’s what makes her a truly great coach. ”
- Britney Winters (Oakland, CA)
Former Mills College swimmer
“ I think that Merritt really helped me in my swimming. She taught me things that other coaches hadn’t noticed before and I thought that was really helpful for me. I remember her telling me how to swim the 50 free this one time, and that’s how I kept getting faster. I still use everything she taught me, by the way. ”
- Maddy, Age 13 (Alameda, CA)
11-12 year old girls 50yd Freestyle Far Westerns Champion (25.12 sec)
“ I am the President of a large competitive swim club, and Merritt worked with over half of our swimmers on stroke technique. Our club is very culturally and socioeconomically diverse, with many children speaking English as a second language. Merritt worked with each of them very effectively, finding ways to communicate that resonated specifically with each child. Merritt earned the patronage of our swimmers through word of mouth about the great results our kids were having with her, which is a powerful endorsement of Merritt’s potent teaching skills. ”
- Eric Delore (Alameda, CA)
President Alameda Island Aquatics
“ I started seeing Merritt when I wanted to compete in a triathlon with a short 400 yard swim. Although I was fit, I could barely make it across the pool without being exhausted.
Merritt showed me how to make my stroke more efficient and got me to a level where I could compete in longer open water swim races, and a 1/2 Ironman.
To sum it up, she is awesome! ”
- Joey Consos (Oakland, CA)