Birthday: May 13, 1981
Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota
School: University of Minnesota
Bronze medalist at 2007 Pan American Games
Olympic Trials Qualifier
Sixth in the 200m breast, 9th in the 100m breast, and 15th in the 50m breast at 2003 World University Games
Earned 9th place in 200m breaststroke at 2009 World Aquatics Championships in Rome
Like many swimmers, Keri Hehn used to find herself behind the blocks with the rhythmic thud of her heart sounding in her ears. The roar of the crowd would fade into silence, and pre-race thoughts rushed wildly through her head. Sound familiar?
“I used to get really nervous before my races,” Keri recalls. “It was turning those nerves into a positive and knowing that when I was nervous, I was going to swim really fast! Also, just being confident that I had put in the work, and now I was ready to show the world how fast I could swim!”
This is one of the many techniques Keri has employed throughout her swim career; yet, a common theme unites them all: positivity.
Coaches and athletes alike reference the “ebb and flow” of swimming as a truly defining quality of the sport. It’s how swimmers react to these inevitable fluctuations that separate “good” from “great” racers.
“I learned the most from the losses or when I didn’t get the time I had been working towards. It teaches you grit and how to come back and make sure that it does not happen again.”
In addition to coaching a swim team in Maui every summer, Keri currently coaches at a K-12 school where she is both a science teacher and Director of Admissions. Surrounding herself with young people every day, Keri is truly invested in today’s youth.
“I am thrilled to coach with Fitter and Faster because I hope to give back to the next generation. Swimming has provided me with so many amazing opportunities, and I have met the best people along the way!”
A decorated breaststroker, Keri has a few basic tips for finding speed on race day. Opting for simple explanations that swimmers can immediately implement, Keri is sure to get participants feeling faster by the end of the clinic.
“All of my coaches focused on technique. The most important thing I took away over the years is to ‘never swim breaststroke slow.’ The timing of the stroke is so important that I only swam it at race pace.”
Her expertise is certainly not limited to breaststroke, however, as Keri’s extensive coaching experience has helped her recognize patterns to fast swimming.
“Since I am a breaststroker, I like to focus on fast heels and getting into a straight body line. But in every stroke, body line is very important.”
Keri focuses on establishing good swimming “habits” to ensure that race day is taken care of well in advance.
“It takes 21 days to break a bad habit. Just keep focusing and eventually it will become natural.”
Encouraging swimmers to become “comfortable with the uncomfortable,” Keri challenges participants to push past their limits in order to become fully formed athletes and people. Hoping swimmers deepen their passion for the sport through the magic of learning, Keri is excited to occupy a spot in their journeys.
Do you want to take the next step to achieving your goals? Sign up for a clinic with Keri today!