Suzanne Yee, who just completed a second straight season coaching a top sprinter to the NCAA Championships, was recently recognized by CollegeSwimming.com as an Assistant Coach of the Year Honorable Mention.
Yee has guided both Megan Waters (2011) and Lisa Boyce (2012) to the NCAA Championships, and those two combined to win seven individual Ivy League titles over the last two years. Waters won three events during her senior season in 2011 and was ultimately named Swimmer of the Meet, while Boyce won once as a freshman and three times this past year.
Both Boyce and Waters joined head coach Susan Teeter in nominating Yee; their nominations are included below.
Nomination from Current Princeton Athletes
During last year’s end-of-season meeting, head coach Susan Teeter said how fortunate we were to have our assistant coach Suzanne Yee because with her we essentially have two head coaches. She contributes so much to running the team, thinking in terms of big-picture goals, then breaking them down into more tangible steps for us. Under her watch, several women have qualified for Olympic Trials and have achieved NCAA B standards, an impressive feat in the Ivy League where athletes are not offered scholarships. She also coached both of us to NCAAs.
Suzanne works very closely with us to create a personalized training schedule based on our strokes, physical needs and academic requirements. Some sprinters substitute swims with cardio twice a week, and some mid-distance stroke specialists train with the distance group every few days. Suzanne’s focus is also academic. She consistently checks in with us, especially before major meets, sending reminders to get work done early and talk to her if we need more time. She will personally speak with uncooperative professors and offers flexible make-up workout options come exam time. This extra effort creates a comfortable, supportive environment, reminding us that we are students first and athletes second attending an academically rigorous institution.
Writing most of the sprint and mid-distance workouts, Suzanne makes them interesting while keeping the purpose of each set clear, inspiring great work ethic towards a unifying team goal. Suzanne is also something of a stroke genius, with knowledge amassed over years of experience. What sets her apart is her ability to articulate how to make our strokes more mechanically efficient. She pushes us to not only work harder but to also work smarter.
In only her second year with the team, she is already leaving a legacy. This was the first year that prospects were recruited solely by Suzanne, and it is the first time that either of us can remember having almost double the number of women commit as could actually be accepted, a testament to Suzanne’s skill as a recruiter and to her commitment to the longevity and strength of our program. Outside our pool’s walls, Suzanne is a central member of the swimming community amongst coaches and athletes. At every USS meet that we travel to, she speaks with other coaches, trading ideas about race strategy and training exercises and taking time to get to know them personally. She is a friendly face for several elite-level athletes who have a clear respect for her knowledge of the sport.
A self-proclaimed “swim nerd,” she attends the women’s coaching summit and enrolls in coaching conferences to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in stroke technique. She attends Juniors and Seniors not only for recruiting but also to continue her education within the coaching community. This constant search for knowledge and her desire to always be at the top of her coaching game adds to the many reasons we feel that Suzanne is the perfect fit for this award.
- Lisa Boyce '14 and Megan Waters '11
Nomination from Susan Teeter, Head Coach
When I read my athletes' essay on Suzanne, I thought "how can I top that?"! I think their words are far more important than mine as I believe athletes are the ones getting the direct result of the actions by a coach. I have been fortunate to have Suzanne join me and since day 1 have been astonished at her abilities. She is a recruiting machine.
Suzanne brought intensity and critical analysis to our program. Her mathematical brain bought the perfect compliment to my creative brain. I began to feel as if I have been coaching with her for decades. She is a woman who asks for no credit, works until the midnight oil has run out and writes one of the best and most interesting workouts that I've ever seen.
And she is a very unassuming person who is highly under recognized. I have been on nine international teams including two Olympic Teams...Suzanne is one of the best coaches I have ever run across. 500 words don't seem to be enough to give Suzanne the credit she deserves. I hope you can and will choose her to be this year's recipient of the Assistant Coach of the Year Award.