U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Chantique Payne
- School: University of Guelph
- Sport: Swimming
- Position: Head coach
- Seniority: One year
- Previous school/position: Assistant coach, Guelph Gryphons
- Hometown: Brantford Ont.
1. How did you first get involved in coaching? What was your path to your position as head coach of Guelph?
Teaching swimming is the first job I ever had, I loved working with kids and thought that’s where I would stay. As I got older, I began coaching all different ages and levels. I fell in love with varsity athletics as an athlete for the Gryphons, once I finished as a varsity athlete, I began volunteering which led to an assistant coach position and finally my dream job as the head coach for the Gryphon swim team
2. Who are the people that have influenced you most as a coach?
My age group coach Hans Witolla for the importance of fundamentals, my varsity coach Don Burton for pushing limits and always expecting excellence and my Dad, a (now retired) elementary school principal who never had to raise his voice to get a message across.
3. How would you describe your coaching style?
I’m fairly laid back but hold very high standards. My athletes never need to question what my expectations are.
4. Which coach do you admire the most, and why?
I don’t have one coach that I admire above all others. That being said, any coach who commands a team of good athletes but even better human beings is something I consider to be highly valuable.
5. What is the most “out-of-the-box” thing you’ve done as a coach?
I have a couple tricks up my sleeve but I can’t say that I've brought them out just yet!
6. What is your greatest coaching moment or achievement?
My greatest coaching moment has to be coaching at my first OUA Championships as head coach last season. The energy at that meet is unparalleled and the whole team came together for some amazing results!
7. What’s the best advice you can give to an athlete and/or athlete’s parents?
Don’t just wish for it, work for it. It might sound cliché, but when your goals don’t match your work ethic it only leads to frustration for your coaches and yourself.
8. How have you changed as a coach over time? What principles/values, etc. have remained the same?
Something I’m still learning is that I can’t want it more than the athlete does, sometimes what I believe they can do and what they want to do aren’t the same thing. One thing that hasn’t changed is my belief that although every athlete may not reach an elite level of sport, every member of a team can have an elite mentality. Dedication, accountability, respect are traits that every athlete can have no matter their skill level.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in coaching mode?
I’ve always been a big music and movies fan, I love singing with family and friends, and I go out to the movies whenever I can!
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you as a coach?
I honestly don’t think I have one, although it’s highly likely that I’ve forgotten or the memory is deeply repressed.