Former Olympic Coach Dives Into Lawrence Swim Team – Mike Parratto
Can you imagine being at the Olympics, coaching a talented athlete who wins a gold medal, not once but eight times? Mike Parratto can tell you all about it. Mike is new in town, actually, new to the state of Indiana, but not an amateur in the swimming community. Mike just recently landed the all-American job as the new head coach of the Lawrence Swim Team and is the new assistant coach at Lawrence North High School. Mike has been a swim coach for over 32 years and he knows what it takes to be the best of the best in swimming. “The sport of swimming takes a lot of dedication,” explains Mike. “It is a year-round sport that requires lots of hours and time.” While spending the last 26 years coaching at the Seacoast Swimming Association in Dover, New Hampshire, Mike saw 12 Olympic trial qualifiers come through the doors – one of whom was Jenny Thompson, a four-time Olympian.
As the most successful U.S. female Olympian, Jenny has won 12 medals in four Olympics starting in 1992 (she retired after the 2004 Olympics). “I coached her when she came to Seacoast at age 11 and continued to coach her throughout high school,” said Mike. “I basically saw her from start to finish.” In 2009, Jenny was inducted into the International Hall of Fame. “Her development was quick, but we didn’t want to rush it,” explains Mike. “She was an excellent athlete. We are so proud of her.”
“If there are people who have an interest in swimming, anything can be achieved,” said Mike. “I want to get as many people involved in swimming with the Lawrence Swim Team (LST) as possible.” Mike went on to say he is very excited about the program and anyone who wants to be competitive – LST is the place to be. LST is a club team made up of participants ranging from ages 8-18 and is a year-round program. Mike has one very serious goal as new head coach of LST, “Every kid born in this area should come try out and become a swimmer.” One thing I was impressed to hear from Mike was how amazed he was at how many kids in this area swim. “I feel pretty positive getting the word out,” said Mike confidently. “Every kid will want to come and swim. Kids just need to try it.”
Mike has two kids of his own that swim and dive competitively. His eldest daughter is a sophomore and swims at the University of Pennsylvania, and his younger daughter is a sophomore in high school and is a national team diver who trains at the USA Diving National Training Center in Indianapolis. Mike’s wife, Amy, is also a swimmer and coaches diving at the STARZ diving club.
For more information on Lawrence Swim Team, visit www.lawrenceswimteam.com.