New Coach Profile: Nikol Lagodzinska


Alison Kenaston

Nikol Lagodzinska is the new assistant coach for the City High Girls swim team.

Kate Kueter and Alison Kenaston

A sharp beep rings through the air as the swimmers dive into the water to start their race. As soon as the beep goes off, Assistant Coach Nikol Lagodzinska starts her stopwatch.

Lagodzinska is a new addition to the City High girls swimming and diving team. She didn’t believe that she would go into coaching but when the team’s head coach, Zane Hugo, gave her the opportunity, she couldn’t pass it up.

“She’s adding a lot of energy to the coaching staff. She’s bringing in new ideas, and she’s helping me execute our season plan in a way that I couldn’t have hoped to be working any better,” Hugo explained.

Lagodzinska has been swimming for most of her life. She swam throughout high school and until the end of college.

“Swimming led my whole life. My mom pushed me into doing it; for a long time I didn’t want to do it, in all honesty,” Lagodzinska said.

Lagodzinska went on to mention that the time and effort that she put into swimming paid off when she got a scholarship to the University of Iowa. 

“My coach would be texting me if I wasn’t at practice,” Lagodzinska chuckled. “I was lucky because it led to a scholarship to college, so all the hard work paid off.”

Lagodzinska wants to bring new things to the girls swim team that hasn’t been addressed before.

“I think the mindfulness is important,” Lagodzinska explained, “especially with swimming, where you are just staring at the bottom of the pool and yardage is so important.”

She has been starting to pay attention and work with the girls individually too.

“I just try to pay attention to everyone. I think that’s really hard, especially with coaching 32 girls,” Lagodzinska says.

She believes that it’s beneficial that each girl learns and gains knowledge about swimming if their coach is paying attention to them individually. 

“It’s nice to be that support system and make everyone know that their progress as an athlete is important,” Lagodzinska remarks.

Along with swimming, Lagodzinska wants to help the girls handle the stresses of life. She explains how she’s seeing more and more students getting stressed out over college.

“People are starting to worry about college at a younger age. I started to think about college when I was a junior,” Lagodzinska recalls.

She uses a metaphor to help explain how school and swimming should balance out.

“You are essentially planting a seed, and you have to nurture that seed. You can’t think about some big tree that you’re going to have one day and getting frustrated with it,” Lagodzinska explains.

She went on to say that there are little things that students have to balance in school and in sports.

“You need to focus on the little things, like watering [your seed]. School has a lot of little things that you have to maintain in order to make that tree grow,” Lagodzinska said.

Lagodzinska is planning on coaching the girls team in the future and expressed that she wants to improve her coaching skills.

“My coaching philosophy is just to expect out of the team what I expect out of anyone: show up, work hard, treat everyone with respect, and I hope, as a coach, that the girls carry that throughout their whole lives,” she said.