Coaches for West Texas Swim Coaching

Founder of WTSC and Head Coach - Tom Harris

  • Level 2 USA Swimming Coach

  • Level 3 US Masters Swimming Coach

  • Level 5 American Swimming Coaches Association Coach (Education)

  • Member of the American Swimming Coaches Association

  • Master’s Degree in Education (counseling) 

  • Former Total Immersion Swim Coach

  • Former Xterra Triathlete

  • ​Retired USMC Infantry Officer

Yoga Instructor for the Northwest Texas Islanders - Kristin Dow

  • 200-hour Yoga Certification

  • Certified Fitness Group Trainer with 13-years Experience

  • Former Elementary School Teacher

  • Master’s Degree in Education (curriculum development) 

  • Marathon Runner

  • Mother of Swimmers Owen and Kaden

Mission Statement

To provide USMC style leadership and technique-focused swim training to create joy through active physical lives involving fitness, camaraderie, and adventure.

Training Philosophy​ - Technique First

The NWTX Islanders is a technique-first team. This is what we do well. In the long run, it will, I am convinced, produce more swimmers who reach their potential.

Bill Boomer, without any experience in competitive swimming, became coach of the Rochester University swim team in 1961. Looking at swimming without the blinders

of tradition, he determined that reducing resistance is more important than conditioning, “The shape of the vessel matters more than the size of the engine.” (He also developed the modern track start for swimmers.)


This technique-first idea was revolutionary in swimming. Prior to Boomer, we had little understanding of efficient swim technique and depended on a natural selection process of finding and developing good swimmers. See Coach Doc Counsilman's 1971 The X Factor speech to the American Swimming Coaches Association for an explanation of this system.


Coach Boomer's technique-first ideas were used by retired swim coach Terry Laughlin and his Total Immersion (TI) coaching organization to successfully train thousands of adult swimmers during the triathlon boom of the last several decades. I was one of those triathletes and eventually a TI coach.


Coach Laughlin taught us that because water is a thousand times denser than air, minimizing resistance trumps conditioning in swimming, unlike in running or bicycling, AND resistance increases at the square of speed. 


Technique-first thinking has become mainstream in swimming publications (see Swim Speed Strokes by Taormina or The Swimming Triangle by Baker for example.), but has had little effect on the conduct of most swim team practices. Coaches who swam tend to run practice the way their coaches did 30 years ago. And with little time to prepare large numbers of swimmers for a meet, coaches see little choice but to go for the quick fix of focusing on conditioning. 


So that's the theory. West Texas Swim Coaching will always be technique-oriented and the Islanders will always be a technique-first team.

Coach Harris

West Texas Swim Coaching LLC provides Amarillo families with swimming lessons, kids group swim workouts, and a USA Swimming team (NWTX Islanders).