With the 2015 spring athletic season kicking into gear and the retirement of Di Whitesides, Carmel’s girls’ coach for the past 20 years, swimmers are welcoming Pam Stachelek, a lifelong swimmer who has experience coaching at the college level.
Pam Stachelek, the new head girls’ coach, has an impressive swim résumé that includes her attendance to Clemson University, where she swam on their division one swim team all four years and received a bachelor’s in Microbiology and a master’s degree in nutrition. After graduating, Stachelek coached at the college for three years.
Her time at Clemson gave Stachelek experience with Olympians and distinguished All-American swimmers. She even worked with Olympic swimmer Michelle Richardson, who won the silver medal in the 800-meter freestyle at the 1984 Olympics.
Stachelek’s experience in the competitive swim world has helped her come to terms with what she wants most for her swimmers as she coaches for Carmel High.
“I hope we have a good sense of team and bring that experience of comradery,” she says of her goals for this season.
Coach Stachelek’s swim experience goes much farther back than just college. From as early on as 9 years old she was on swim teams. She discovered her true passion for the competitive sport in high school when she moved away from home because her local school’s athletic department did not have a swim team and describes her high school days as some of the most exciting times in her swim career.
“As far as genres of swimming go, high school is the most exciting. You have a good mix of athletes, some who are super competitive and some who are just starting out in the sport.”
Stachelek highlights that the team-bonding aspect of swimming, despite it being an individual sport, was something she found the most fun.
The coach’s biggest goal for the current CHS swim season is not about the scoreboard at the end of each meet, but rather about creating a fun and inviting environment for all the swimmers. She notes that the most fun events tend to be relay races because they allow swimmers to compete in an event as a more unified team.
“It is an individual sport, but it’s so much more fun when it’s a team sport…. The races I really remember are the relay races.”
Regarding workouts and goal-setting aimed at improving each swimmer’s skills this season, Stachelek says she will we be having the girls combine dry-land workouts that include ab and strength training with time in the pool. She also notes that she encourages a balanced lifestyle, saying that athletes deserve rest and even the occasional splurge on ice cream.
Since coaching at Clemson, Stachelek has raised a family of three children, two of whom currently attend Carmel schools. She has remained active by volunteering and coaching for various sports her kids played, including soccer, basketball and tee-ball. At the end of the day, Pam Stachelek is a mom who wants to create meaningful experiences for young athletes.
Girls add assistant coach Chelsea Peterson
Joining Pam Stachelek and the girls’ team is assistant coach Chelsea Peterson, a 2011 graduate of Cal State University Long Beach, where she rowed for the school’s crew team for four years.
After graduating, Peterson was a full-time coach for the Golden West Swim Club, run by former Olympic coach Mark Schubert. While working under Schubert, Peterson coached two different age groups and the Masters team, as well as leading swim lessons. She now looks forward to being able to be a part of the Carmel swim legacy.
“I have always been passionate about swimming,” she says, “and I look forward to sharing that passion at a school with such a rich aquatic history.”