A year after her first submergence, she joined her local YMCA swim team and began to develop her love for the sport. By the time she had reached eight years old, Misiewicz committed herself to swimming all year round. It was when she reached ten years old that she made the decision to switch to club swimming.
“The program wasn’t really developing at the rate I was, so I decided to switch [to] club teams — and I was traveling about 45 minutes to my club team every day,” said Misiewicz.
With the support of her parents, Misiewicz made the trek to her swim team every weekday, practicing for three hours at every session. Later, when she turned 16 in high school, she began to swim double practices, in the morning and at night, three times a week. Her time spent at the pool turned into a job as a lifeguard, which blossomed into her coaching career.
“Out of lifeguarding, I started giving swim lessons … and then swim lessons turned into assistant coach … and then the assistant coach turned into [a] head coach position for another team when I was in college.”
Her newfound interest in coaching swimming along with her early exposure to teaching others how to swim during her college career led her to make the decision to become a teacher.
“I knew that the best way that I could teach and still be involved in swimming was to be a teacher and get into coaching.”
Now, as a pre-calculus and geometry teacher as well as the coach that led girls swimming to a 9–3–1 record and boys swimming to a 10–4 record last season, Misiewicz has achieved her dream of being involved in the sport that she spent so much of her childhood practicing, carrying the energy and open-mindedness that she possessed the first time she arrived at the pool into her high school coaching career.
“She’s really outgoing and upbeat, and that high amount of energy has kept me going and lifted me up on a bad day,” said Co-Captain Julia Mullarkey ’17. “She’s really accepting of everybody, which is great for the younger swimmers on the team, and as a freshman, it’s always good having someone who wanted everybody there.”
“She’s very close with everyone. Even if you’re not a regular swimmer, she still knows your name, and she [will still] tell you, ‘That was great!’ or, ‘That was your personal best!’ just because she keeps track of all of our times. I would say everyone feels like she’s a friend. She’s a coach, but she’s also really easy to talk to,” said Co-Captain Jenny Bond ’17.
In addition to displaying her youthful energy and acceptance, she also possesses a youthful heart.
“She takes it really to heart when people don’t go to practice or don’t do their homework. She shouldn’t, but she takes everything really personally and tries to fix everything,” Mullarkey said.
This aspect of her personality was tested in their second meet against regional rivals West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South. The team was looking for revenge as it had previously lost to South earlier in the season. In one of the races, Princeton’s swimmer finished second, ahead of the swimmer from South in the same event. But, the the trigger to stop the timer in Princeton’s lane malfunctioned, causing the computer to register a loss for Princeton between the two teams’ swimmers. The malfunction caused the final outcome of the meet to be a draw between the two schools.
“Misiewicz took it all the way to the top. She talked to almost every ref[eree], she talked to the coach, she talked to the head of swimming, [and] she talked to Mr. Dzbenski. She did so much work; she was on the phone all day, trying to get us a win because we deserved the win — because we actually won. But we were said to be tied. After all the work she did, we didn’t end up getting an official win, because the touchpad was the official ‘no,’” Mullarkey said.
“She said she did it because we deserved to win,” Bond said. “She felt that we worked so hard — it was such a close meet — everyone swam really well and did their best because we wanted to win. She did not want to take that away from us, and she wanted to make sure our victory was acknowledged.”
But victory is not the only goal that Misiewicz has for the swimmers on her team.
“Coach Mis[iewicz] definitely emphasizes swimming for your personal bests and being proud of when you [improve], even if we didn’t win. We had a hard season, especially losing a lot of meets in the beginning, so she was really great in inspiring everyone to look at [their] own personal bests and be there for [their] teammates,” Bond said.
“The true joy that I get out of coaching is seeing them drop time and seeing them swim out of their minds and get these times that they didn’t ever think they could [get] in the beginning of the season,” Misiewicz said. “For me, it is very rewarding and validat[ing] that I’m doing something right when I see them getting behind each other and going 110 percent and seeing them together as a team. Watching them perform is the biggest reward I get out of the job.”