by GREG SIERING
The pandemic brought many challenges, but for local swim coach Temujin Gold, that challenge was almost overwhelming—a year of coaching a swim club without a swimming pool.
Gold, 39, has been involved with competitive swimming most of his life. He swam for Indiana University from 2001– 2004 and later coached at various levels for more than 15 years—from the national team of El Salvador to collegiate teams to club teams and swim camps across the country.
Gold founded his latest team, Agon, in 2015 as a competitive swim club for Ellettsville and the surrounding area, offering swim lessons, coaching, and opportunities for competition for both youth and adults. The club’s name comes from ancient Greek which, Gold notes, refers to “the struggle that is inherent in the pursuit of excellence.”
That concept is at the heart of Gold’s coaching philosophy. Emphasizing the character and potential developed by sports, Agon rewards athletes for embracing new challenges, whether by taking a workout to the next level or finding a way to help a teammate improve. “They learn the importance of that struggle in practice,” Gold says. “It’s cool to see them embrace it and to ask for things to be more challenging, and to recognize that this is part of getting better and finding out what they can do.”
Having a swim team without a pool due to COVID-19 restrictions was part of that challenge. Gold created outdoor workouts throughout the year—including hikes, bike rides, yoga, sledding, and lake swimming—that blended physical conditioning and in-person socialization aimed at keeping the team healthy and together. And now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, his team has returned to the pool. With their home pool at Edgewood High School closed for renovation until fall, the team is currently sharing pool time at Bloomington High School North.
Participation in Agon is still down, Gold notes, because of pandemic disruptions and the inconvenience of a borrowed pool. But struggle is at the heart of Agon’s philosophy, and his swimmers are back in the water, competing and rebuilding their team with hopes of soon returning to their normal routine. In other words, doing what is necessary in their pursuit of excellence.
To learn more, become a sponsor, or donate to Agon, visit agon.us.