5:10 with Samantha Huge

5:10 with Samantha Huge

Welcome back to 5 in 10, a series of 5 questions in 10 minutes "For Women Who LEAD." This week our 5:10 For Women Who LEAD features a woman who is making her presence felt in a heavily male dominated field. Samantha Huge, the newly appointed athletic director at the college of William and Mary, is a part of only 13% of women that have that role in NCAA D1 programs. A true trailblazer, this former student athlete is adding a fresh perspective for D1 athletics.

My​ ​Personal​ ​Experience​ ​at​ ​the​ ​LEAD​ ​Summit​ by Lindsee Newman

My​ ​Personal​ ​Experience​ ​at​ ​the​ ​LEAD​ ​Summit​ by Lindsee Newman

Sophia and I at our first camp 4 years ago and Sophia and I at LEAD in 2017

LEAD sponsor gifts

It's hard for me to say what part of the LEAD Sports Summit was my favorite. Meeting all the Olympians, the in-pool lesson, the speeches, the bonding, the presents...
I'll have to admit, when my Justin's peanut butter was confiscated at the airport on my way back home, it almost brought me to tears. It. Was. Awful. However, I got through it and came back home with so many different memories, pictures, and amazing gifts (and a quick run to the grocery store for more Justin's)!
I've been to two different swim camps in my life but the LEAD Summit beats the other ones by a L O N G shot. I went to LEAD Summit because of my mom and Kara Lynn. She has been so good to my team the Woodmoor Waves (it's okay I know you have never heard of us, yet). Leading into the event, my expectations were low because I have been disappointed by camps and clinics before, but the second I arrived my expectations were exceeded! I'll never forget when I got the hotel on the first day, my best friend Sophia and I were getting checked in when all of the sudden Sophia turns around:
“Okay, Lindsee, stay calm, but I just saw Missy Franklin!”
We had so many experiences with Missy, Kara, Elizabeth and the other mentors all throughout the weekend, I must have taken a thousand pictures from the trip.
“Oh look, Missy is taking pictures again! Want to get another one?”
“Of course!”
“Guess what Sophia! Elizabeth Beisel thought there were leeches in the lake so she got on my paddle board! It was AMAZING!”
And so many more crazy conversations, it was truly amazing. 
The second day of camp felt like Christmas...but better! It took all my willpower and strength to not start crying when I walked into my hotel room and saw the UGG slippers, Jolyn bathing suits and leggings, and so many other gifts! Literally the most amazing feeling ever!
At first, I was afraid the talks and seminars would be boring but I was definitely mistaken - I learned so much! Today, as I write this, I am drinking tart cherry juice, getting enough vitamin D, and getting my servings of beets (yeah beets, thanks Jenn Brunelli)!
Learning about being a leader was the most impactful for me. Recently my coach of 4 years left the team and we lost 3 graduating seniors. I didn't know what this would do to the team but I knew it was going to open a space for new leaders to step up. With everything Sophia and I learned from LEAD and Elizabeth's Leadership talk, I'm happy to report that the team is doing well and is stronger than ever. 
The most amazing thing that happened to me personally at this camp was Eva Fabian and Kara Lynn Joyce talking to me about open water swimming. I'm a distance swimmer but open water is never something I'd given much thought to. Eva taught me how to sight in open water at the swim clinic portion of the summit and Kara encouraged me to give it a try because it played to a lot of my strengths as an athlete. The week after I got back from LEAD I entered into a 2.4 mile swim in the Horsetooth reservoir. I was unaware CSU, UNC, and the Air Force were all competing as well, but nevertheless I worked up the courage and remembered all of the advice Eva gave me. It was the best race I have ever swam and I'm happy to report I finished in first place - I am in LOVE with open water swimming and I plan to do a 5k as soon as I can! 
I’d like to thank LEAD summit and all the amazing sponsors for the greatest EXPERIENCE I’ve ever had. I hope to come back!

Lindsee Newman, age 14.

First place finish in Open Water

Giving Back

Giving Back

Think back to the first swim meet you ever attended. Whether your first meet was when you were 6 years old or a freshman in high school, remember how nervous you were? Did your nerves keep you up the night before? Remember the feeling of walking out on the pool deck and not being sure where you should go?

Now stop and think about the people that helped you that day and made your first meet easier. Did your coach watch out for you? Or was there a parent on the deck that made sure you got to your event on time? Or perhaps there was an older swimmer that told you when to warm up.

Go back to that time and think about the older kids on the team that were role models for you. Did they give you a congratulatory high five after your race or maybe even a fist bump? Did you watch there behind the block routine? Maybe they were even an inspiration to you as you watched them swim a whole 100 fly across the pool.

mary m.png

Swimming is one of those extremely special sports where athletes of all ages are able to train and compete together at the same time. For many of the younger swimmers, they have the opportunity to watch the people they look up to race their hearts out. They don’t care if you go a best time, just watching the older kids means so much to them.

Something that we tend to take for granted as we get older is the effect we have on the people around us, especially those children. As you get older, it is so easy to get caught up meeting your time goals, that we more often than not, fail to notice the younger eyes that are looking up to us. Going out of your way to boost the confidence or ease the nerves of a teammate, can be the boost they need to swim just a little bit faster.  Something so simples as a high five behind the blocks or asking them if they have any questions can really help make them feel even more part of the team.

The best part about this is that you don’t need to be a college swimmer or even a high school swimmer to be a mentor or a leader for someone on your team. You can inspire your current teammates, or even be a mentor to someone that is older than you but whom might be new to the sport. We can always learn from each other.

As the holiday season and mid-season meets start coming your way, make sure you stop and appreciate all the little things the swimming community does for you. Then try to pass that on by doing something as simple as complimenting a younger swimmer on a great practice, or by congratulating them at a swim meet, regardless if it’s a best time or not. Being a mentor to a younger athlete might seem intimidating at first, but starting with something as simple as an encouraging gesture can make all the difference.   

We challenge you to be a better mentor by:

  • Advice: Go out of your way to give helpful tips and share what you have learned during your time being apart of the sport.

  • Guidance: Ask a younger athlete if they have questions or need any help if you notice that they are struggling.

  • Encouragement: Be there for positive support by congratulating your younger teammates no matter what.

m motch 3.png

This post was written by contributing writer Mary Motch. Mary is a sophomore at the College of William & Mary and specializes in sprint freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke. 

The Power of Team Positivity

The Power of Team Positivity

Have you ever seen your coach write the main set on the board and had an overwhelming feeling that you don’t know if you can survive? You see line after line, one fast effort after another, and all you can do is take a deep breath. Your coach describes the set, but you zone out, wondering how you will make it through. The next thing you know, your coach tells you to leave on the top. You place your foggy goggles over your eyes and get ready to push off the wall.

As the set continues, your team is surrounded by silence. All you can hear is your coach, the water, and your teammates gasping for air. As the pain begins to set in, you wonder how long the set will take. You grind through lap after lap, without the support of your teammates.

Eventually, your hand hits the wall after the last 25 and you are exhausted. Your coach tells the team “nice job” but you join your teammates in complaining how hard the set was. No one congratulates each other for their efforts before pushing off for warm down.  

Motch Blog.JPG

Now, envision the same set like this: This time, your teammates are the ones that are encouraging you. Before you even start the set, your teammate next to you looks you in the eye and says, “You’ve got this!” You respond with “Let’s go!” Your coach reminds you to take each effort as it comes and to not get overwhelmed by what’s written on the board. Take it piece by piece, one effort at a time. Always give 100% of what you have right now.

As you make your way through the set this go around, each time your hand hits the wall you hear your teammates yelling your name. While your coach yells splits and keeps the enthusiasm alive. The set is challenging, but you feel empowered by your teammates’ energy, and you feel like you are a part of everyone’s success, not just your own. By focusing on your teammates’ success in the set and pushing yourself harder at the same time, you are not only swimming for yourself, but for your team.

After the last 25, everyone high fives each other and says what a great set that was. As you warm down, you feel yourself smile even though you can barely feel your legs. You made it! Your teammates made it! You conquered the set.

Some people don’t consider swimming as a team sport. Especially at the club level, it can seem like you are swimming just to get best times. You might even see your teammates as your competitors. For some swimmers, the first time they feel the team comradery of swimming is in high school. For other swimmers, they won’t truly feel like they are swimming for others until they hit college swimming. In a positive team environment, you feel like you are swimming for something bigger than your personal best times. Your personal goals still matter, of course, but when you step up to the blocks, you feel a connection to all your teammates that wear the same cap, all the students that attend your school, and all the alumni that came before you.

There is nothing more powerful than having your teammates encouraging you from the water in the middle of a tough set. They share the pain you are going through, but knowing there is a group of people right there who want you to succeed is a motivating and magical feeling unlike any other.

If you come from a team that is usually on the quiet side, speak up during practice and challenge your teammates to encourage each other. If you feel like you don’t know how or are nervous to take that step, ask your coach about how you can create more positive energy during the main set. No matter how old you are, any coach will be more than willing to have a conversation with your group to create a dynamic team environment. Happy swimmers are fast swimmers, and a group of teammates that supports each other through practice is a force to be reckoned with.

Next time you see a challenging set written on the board, we challenge you to:

·      Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones.

·      Give the teammates in your lane encouragement before the set begins.

·      Throughout the set, check in with your teammates and cheer on their efforts.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 11.18.11 PM.png


This post was written by contributing writer Mary Motch. Mary is a sophomore at the College of William & Mary and specializes in sprint freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke. 

2017 Lead Sports Summit Wrap!

2017 Lead Sports Summit Wrap!

The first ever LEAD Sports Summit took place in Austin, TX from September 2-4, 2017.  The entire weekend exceeded our expectations and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with all 76 young swimmers.

Lead Group 2.jpg

Each girl left with experiences they'll never forget, friendships, swag, and memories, but most importantly, they left with a stronger and more empowered sense of self than when they came. Jenn Brunelli, Elizabeth Beisel, Christie Shefchunas, Missy Franklin, Kara Lynn Joyce, Madisyn Cox and Eva Fabian took the stages at LEAD with confidence, compassion, and the desire to break down barriers, relate, inform, and empower.

"I want to keep growing the event. Listening to Missy talk about perseverance, the only thing I could think of was how there are so many girls that would benefit from being in this room, and I want to give more girls that opportunity."

- LEAD Founder Kara Lynn Joyce

LEAD Summit Press:

Olympic Channel: Olympians come together to empower young swimmers

SwimSwam: Olympians give praise to the inaugural LEAD Sports Summit

5:10 with Haley Chura

5:10 with Haley Chura

Welcome to 5 in 10, a series of 5 questions in 10 minutes "For Women Who LEAD." Our first 5:10 For Women Who LEAD features professional athlete and all-around tough chick, Haley Chura. After suffering a brutal broken leg injury from a head-on car/bike crash, Haley stormed back to win the IronMan Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in June 2017.  

We have 5 questions for Haley to find out a little more about what/who inspires her and what drives her to become a champion.

1. KLJ: What did you aspire to be when you were younger?

HC: When I was younger, the very first thing I wanted to be was a paleontologist to study dinosaurs. I grew up in Montana and dinosaurs were a big thing there - don’t all little kids have an appreciation for that stuff??

KLJ: You actually became a CPA for a while.

HC: Yes! I was an accountant which was my slightly older aspiration, and I actually did that and it was a good job.

KLJ: And now you’re a professional athlete?

HC: Yeah! Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect.  

2. KLJ: What would you tell your younger self about your life now?

HC: I think I would just say learn as much as you can and appreciate every moment that you’re in because things WILL change. Appreciate the phase you’re in; appreciate being a kid swimming, being a high school swimmer, being a college swimmer, being in your early 20’s and swimming masters etc. Just appreciate each step because it changes so much and nothing will ever stay the same. Be present.

3. KLJ: What brings out your confidence when you’re feeling low?

HC: I did struggle with confidence issues a LOT in the earlier part of my swimming career, and even through college. I think I get confidence now from experience, from knowing that I’ve been in this position before, and even if things didn’t go perfect, everything was still okay in the end.  I get confidence from my training and from the people around me. If the people around me believe in me, that breathes life into me and really helps build my confidence.  

4. KLJ: Who inspires you?

HC: Oh my gosh, there’s so many! Even now in my triathlon days, I’m inspired by my time at the University of Georgia and being with such a strong group of when was so inspiring for me. I grew up a lot while I was in college swimming and I think back to that all the time.  Things my former teammates said, even you, Kara, were things that really stuck with me. I get inspiration from the athletes that I currently coach. It’s hard for everyone and we’re all just doing our best, that effort that they all put in truly inspires me.  

5. KLJ: What do you want to want to say to the next generation of Young Women Dreamers?

HC: I would really want to say; believe in yourself. You can do great things - really great things. I’d also say; build each other up. I think we did a great job of that at University of Georgia, you can be competitors, teammates and best friends. If you work together, everyone is going to get better. I try to apply that to everything in my life.  

Rapid Fire:

KLJ: Name one woman you think embodies confidence?

HC: You! I think there was a time, maybe our freshman year before NCAA’s and you were not going into the meet seated first in the 50 free and you said to me “I can win this” and then you did. I learned from you that it’s okay to say you can win, or you can drop time, or you can do something amazing, even small things - when you say them outloud it’s incredibly powerful. I don’t know if that’s a cheater answer because I’m talking to you, but it’s true!

KLJ: Who was your role model at age 10?

HC: I always looked up to the older girls on the swim team. I was living in Bozeman, MT at the time and I can think back to the high school aged girls and a few of them swam in college. I think that had a huge effect on me - when they would come back and tell these stories about being on their teams and how much fun it was and 10 year old me thought; I want to do that! That was a really important thing for me to be exposed to at a young age and it made me start striving to compete in college.

KLJ:  What’s your favorite pump-up song before a race?

HC: Oh, Taylor Swift! I have to say Taylor Swift. Shake it Off is so good! You can’t listen to that and not get excited.

KLJ: What’s your favorite way to relax?

HC: Sleep. I learned that one from you too, Kara. I think sleep is really important and it’s something I didn’t do enough of when I was younger. Now I believe that that’s when you get stronger. If I’m awake, I’m typically reading - I love reading and I’ll read anything. It’s healthy to always be learning!

KLJ: What’s your Starbucks order?

HC: I’m so boring, just regular coffee with cream - unless it’s a Friday! On Fridays I will get a latte after Friday morning practice. Fancy Friday coffee, treat yourself!


Follow along with Haley's journey at HaleyChura.com

LEAD Summit Update, 5/16

Summit Updates & San Antonio Appearance

Last week, we announced Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin as our Special Guest Mentor, and we hope you are just as excited as we are! Over 40 girls from across the country have already signed up for the first ever LEAD SportsSummit - more than half of the 70 available spaces. With the all-star lineup of speakers and mentors, our attendees are in for a fun and impactful weekend! 

From June 23-25, LEAD Founder Kara Lynn Joyce will be attending the George Block Invitational in San Antonio, Texas to talk to parents and swimmers about the LEAD experience and other exciting LEAD events that we will be able to share with you soon. Stay tuned for more information!

Speaker Spotlight

Jennifer Brunelli is a former National Team and NCAA All-American swimmer from the University of South Carolina. She is currently the dietician for the NFL's Carolina Panthers and works with several other sports teams and athletes of all levels. Her passion has always been empowering young female swimmers to take control of their nutrition in order to fuel their bodies best for swimming and for life. 

Working with Jenn, attendees will learn how to fuel pre- and post-workout, individualized fluid intake to promote lower injury risk, and meal frequency and changing your body through diet and macronutrients. Jenn's combined background in swimming and nutrition makes her a perfect fit for our LEAD squad!

Leadership Corner

Empowering young girls and women is a movement we strive to take part in each and every day. In the Leadership Corner, we spotlight important stories on girls and women who inspire us.

LEAD Summit Update, 5/9

LEAD Summit Update, 5/9

Special Guest Speaker Announcement

The LEAD Sports Summit is extremely excited to announce that our Special Guest Speaker and Mentor is...

Missy Franklin!

Missy has inspired thousands of young girls and women around the world since her performance in the London 2012 Olympics where she earned 4 gold medals and 1 bronze medal. We are so honored for Missy to join the LEADteam and empower the girls participating in the event. 

I could not be more excited to be a part of the first ever LEAD Summit. I am so proud of everything this summit stands for and am honored to be a part of something so special.
— Missy Franklin, LEAD Special Guest and Mentor

Speaker Spotlight

Missy Franklin is a 2-time Olympian (2012, 2016) and 5-time Olympic gold medalist. She is the current world record holder in the 200-meter backstroke. Missy co-starred in the inspiring documentary film Touch the Wall with LEAD founder Kara Lynn Joyce as they trained for the 2012 Olympic Trials. She is also the author of Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion, along with her parents. 

As LEAD's Special Guest Speaker and Mentor, Missy will talk with participants about her journey in swimming and life, as well as her demeanor both in times of success and in failure.

Leadership Corner

Empowering young girls and women is a movement we strive to take part in each and every day. In the Leadership Corner, we spotlight important stories on girls and women who inspire us.

LEAD Summit Update, 5/3

Girls from NY to Hawaii Register for LEAD

Over the past two weeks, teenage girls all over the country from New York to Hawaii have signed up for the LEAD Summit this September. LEAD is the first summit designed specifically for teenage girls, giving them access to the top female leaders in our sport. Each girl will come away from LEAD with the experience of being empowered by other girls and women.

There is something truly special about women helping other women.
— LEAD Founder Kara Lynn Joyce speaking at Starbucks Headquarters

Special Guest Announcement Coming Soon!

In six days, we will announce our Special Keynote Speaker and Mentor for LEAD - we cannot wait! She represented Team USA with both LEAD founder Kara Lynn Joyce and LEAD Mentor Elizabeth Beisel... Stay tuned for the official reveal!

Speaker Spotlight

Christen Shefchunas is an author, professional confidence coach, and former Division I swim coach. She has worked with numerous athletes and Olympians, helping them find their confidence from within.

As a LEAD Summit mentor, Christen will work with participants on handling fear and pressure, teaching them about the truth of mental toughness, and helping them to create a life where confidence can thrive. 

Leadership Corner

Empowering young girls and women is a movement we strive to take part in each and every day. In the Leadership Corner, we spotlight important stories on girls and women who inspire us.

Thank you for being part of the LEAD Community!
We hope to see you in September! 

The LEAD Team

Sign up for our newsletter here. 

Welcome to LEAD!

Welcome to LEAD!

Welcome to the LEAD Community!

Over the next few months, we will be sharing more about the first-ever LEAD Sports Summit taking place September 2-4, 2017 in Austin, Texas. 

As a part of the LEAD community, you will receive exclusive content from our all-star team of speakers and be the first to know about all of the exciting updates we have planned, including an e-book from LEAD Founder Kara Lynn Joyce and the announcement of our special guest speaker. 

Speaker Spotlight

Elizabeth Beisel is a 3-time Olympian and 2016 Olympic Team Captain. At the 2016 Golden Goggle Awards, Elizabeth won the inaugural Leadership Award, voted on by her peers. She qualified for her first Olympic Team at 15 years old and has been able to successfully navigate her career from a rookie to a team leader and captain.

As part of the LEAD Summit, Elizabeth will join Kara Lynn Joyce in sessions focused on leadership skills and team building exercises. She will kick off the event with a special keynote speech at the participants' welcome dinner. 

Leadership Corner

Empowering young girls and women is a movement we strive to take part in each and every day. In the Leadership Corner, we spotlight important articles and other stories on girls and women who inspire us.

Thank you again for joining the LEAD Community! We look forward to providing inspirational and empowering content, and we can't wait to see you in September! 

Sign up for the LEAD Newsletter here.