Meetings with Mya: An Interview with Girls’ Swim Coach Nikki Brady


Mercury staff writer Mya Guardino stands with Girls Varsity Swim Coach Nikki Brady

Since the 70s, the Peekskill Varsity Swim team has been smashing records and setting the bar for Peekskill sports pretty high. In the recent years, the program as a whole had taken a few steps back and the number of students actually showing an interest in swim had decreased. This time around, the athletes and students were avid in finding the perfect coach to be able to recreate the same reputation the swim team had decades ago. After a long process, they found their perfect fit, and Nikki Dee Brady is her name!

Brady is  young, dedicated, informed on the sport, and is a Peekskill Swim team alumni. She graduated from Peekskill in 2012, and went on to study Public Relations at Iona College. After graduation and taking some time to travel, Brady has returned to her roots!

Mercury writer, Mya Guardino has met with Brady to get the inside scoop on her life as a swim coach and much more!


Mercury: So, I know you’re a Peekskill High School graduate, and were on the Swim Team in high school. With that being said, what was your favorite memory from being on the team?
Brady: One of my favorite memories on the team was when I received All-League when I was only an eighth grader. It was great to be acknowledged for all my hard work that season and be a big part of the team at such a young age. Another favorite memory was breaking two school records with my relay team my senior year of high school. My three teammates and I worked so hard all season and towards the middle, we started breaking the record little by little every meet. It was great to set a goal together and accomplish it!

Mercury: What persuaded you to be a swim coach?
Brady: Swimming and sports in general have always been a huge passion of mine since I could walk. Once I got to college, I completely stopped all sports and really missed it. When I got asked to apply for the job, I remembered all the great memories I had and the positive effect coaches had on my life. I thought it would be cool to give to the athletes what my coaches gave me when I was in high school.

Mercury: Does your coaching style reflect the type of coach you had in high school, or did you take a different approach?
Brady:  I think I took a different approach from any coach I’ve had in high school. Since I was only on the team four years ago, I tried to put myself in the swimmer’s shoes and work with them to keep the sport as fun as possible.

Mercury: With this being your first year as a swim coach, and being so young, did you expect to have such a successful season with the girls team this fall?
Brady: Going into my first season of coaching, I knew I was going to be working with a lot of great swimmers, but I didn’t expect the team as a whole to be as successful as they were. It is safe to say every single person on the team had a great achievement at some point in the season.

Mercury: Being a first year coach, what was something you learned during girls’ season, that you will apply to the boys’ season in the winter?
Brady: Something I learned during girls’ season that I will apply to boys’ is to make sure fun is always being had. I think this is important because sometimes being too serious can result in a downfall in the love of the sport.

Mercury: Do you have a coaching philosophy, and if so, what is it?
Brady: I’ve never had a coaching philosophy that I could stick to, but I think it’s just to create an environment for students to come in to learn and grow in a specific field, this one being swimming, and not be afraid to push themselves and expand their talents.

Mercury: What characteristics do you value in an athlete?
Brady: The two main characteristics I value in an athlete is leadership and a hard worker. My favorite part about both of those characteristics is that you don’t need to be the best on the team to have those and everyone looks up to you.  

Mercury: Were there any defining moments this season when you realized being the coach was a good idea?
Brady: In the beginning of the season, it was a rough start for everyone. The team was struggling to transfer from summer to school and they were dealing with a new coach. We won our first meet of the season and I think from there on out, the girls knew they were ready to compete against the rest of the league with a good shot at meets and it made me feel like I was beginning to get the hang of this new job.

Mercury: Do you have any processes in place to get the girls more involved in the boys season, since in past years the teams have been pretty separate?
Brady: It’s hard to get the girls involved at practice because it’s not their season and they wouldn’t be practicing for anything but improvement, but I would like to get the girls at home meets even if it’s just to cheer on the boys team.

Mercury: What is the biggest difference between the boys’ team and the girls’ team, besides the gender?  (Work ethics, practice attendance, talkative, good listening…)
Brady: Against what many of my past coaches have told me, working with the girls was a lot easier. They were easier to teach, they listened better and surprisingly barely complained!

Mercury: Can you give me some examples of the most and least desirable moment in your process of becoming certified to be a coach?
Brady: The least desirable moment of becoming certified to coach was going through all of the certifications. I took all the same certifications a teacher would have to take so it was a lot of information that was important, but not for what I was doing. The most desirable moment was when I was all done with the certifications and paperwork and got to sign my final papers to officially be the coach.

Mercury: Do you plan on being the swim coach next year, why or why not?
Brady: I definitely plan to coach again next year! It was so much fun to come back to the team I spent six years on and work with amazing student athletes. It feels good to know you’re helping make a difference for even one person when you have a job like this.

Mercury: Is there anything you would like to add that you think our readers would like to know about?
Brady: Something I would tell the readers is that you can never go wrong with playing a sport and staying involved in sports as long as possible. Sports can teach you millions of valuable life lessons, give you great friends and give you great memories!