Following nine conference championships, four NCAA All-American nods and an American Athletic Conference record in the 200 breaststroke at the University of Louisville, Seymour’s Kameron Chastain needed more swimming.
His love for the sport is unwavering, and he refuses to step away from the sport he loves.
This past spring, Chastain got the opportunity he was looking for post-graduation, as he was named an assistant coach for the Cardinals’ program.
After graduation in 2014, Chastain volunteered as a coach at his alma mater for a year.
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“As a volunteer assistant, I was handling a lot of day-to-day activities, mainly dealing with on-deck coaching, team organization during travel and working closely with another assistant coach to help promote and schedule a professional meet at our university that we’ll now host annually,” Chastain said.
Now, Chastain has far more duties on the staff, as he focuses on bringing in recruits on top of his duties at the pool.
“My new duties as a full-time assistant keep me much busier than before, mainly in the world of recruiting,” Chastain said. “This is the most stressful, yet most rewarding part of my job. Working with a team of four other coaches on bringing these kids into Louisville to pursue what they love to do is the best aspect of the job.”
Thus far, the recruiting has gone swimmingly for the former Owl.
“I also still do a great deal in organization, team management and on-deck coaching,” Chastain said. “As a team, we’ve prepared all of the fall semester to work on our NCAA Championship qualifications. The earlier we can get automatic cuts and invitations, the more work we can do in the second semester to keep moving forward. This keeps our athletes focused and not feeling the stress and pressure of trying to get a cut. To our credit, we’ve been able to get the most men and the third-most women under last year’s qualification times thus far for all of Division I swimming.”
Going from athlete to coach, Chastain said the biggest adjustment was the authority he now has over the athletes.
“To be honest, it was a slightly awkward feeling,” he said. “I give the team great credit; however, in welcoming me back in a new role, I understand how hard that can be for athletes.”
Despite his love for his university, Chastain almost didn’t end up in Louisville, as he searched the country for jobs.
However, when the Louisville job presented itself, he knew he wanted to stay close to home.
“I decided to stay in Louisville after the opportunity opened up in May of this past year,” Chastain said. “I was actually looking at other places around the country but couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work at my alma mater when the head coach offered me the position. I love this university, and the accomplishments we’ve achieved in the last number of years is astonishing. That and the motivation to work in a new conference sealed the deal. I truly believe that we have the best athletic department in the country in terms of athletic support and sustainability.”
Chastain said he stresses the importance of hard work to his athletes, a lesson he learned early in his career.
“My coaching philosophy is pretty simple: Every day is a battle with this sport,” he said. “Some days you win, and other days you lose, whether it’s practice or a meet. I always stress that if you can have more wins than losses on the day-to-day, then you’ll see progress.
“We fight for tenths and hundredths of a second in this sport, but if the athletes are doing the job they need to do on every occasion they have, both in the pool and the classroom, I have no doubt that what we do as a staff is going to set them up for success.”
Chastain joins a young Louisville assistant coaching staff, which is made up of three Cardinals alumni and two national team members from Kazakhstan and Austria.
However, the staff has complied a handful of conference championships, national finals and even Olympic and world championships finals between them.
In his last year of swimming at Seymour High School in 2010, he won the 100-yard breaststroke title at the IHSAA state finals.
Chastain trained under Seymour coach Dave Boggs during his high school years.
He said Boggs has influenced his coaching style, and he stays in touch with his former coach.
“Dave’s philosophy on swimming was one that I still value very much to this day: ‘Have fun’,” Chastain said. “It’s such a simple statement, but with the work we put in, it’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, it’s still just a sport. It affected the way I swam and now how I coach and do life. I’m very thankful for that influence.
“Dave and I still see each other quite often, mostly when I come home for the weekends to see my family. Although I’ve never personally worked with Seymour swimming, I still keep up with them often and love seeing the progress they make.”
Boggs said he believes Chastain will serve the Cardinals well.
“I’m glad to see he is staying with swimming,” he said. “I think he has a lot of knowledge as a coach. He has a passion for it. I think he has a strong fundamental background. He knows the importance of doing things right.”
“He has a love and passion for the sport. I think he got more serious about coaching in his later years at Louisville and making it a career.”
As far as advice to his former swimmer, Boggs said, “Stay up-to-date with the current trends. Keep working hard and communicate well. Also, know what’s important in your life. I’m sure he will do well down there, and I’m looking forward to following his career as a coach.”