During this past offseason, ASU Swim and Dive searched for someone to bring on the staff to help them achieve and maintain long-term stability and success. The Sun Devil swimming coaches had to look no further to find their next assistant coach than former ASU swimmer and alumna, Alex Sherman.
Sherman looks to be a vital part of the team, with her main goal being to form a connection with each swimmer.
"The biggest thing for me is building trust with my swimmers and trying to coach each swimmer individually because each swimmer is different," Sherman said.
Sherman, who was hired on Aug. 29, looks to push each swimmer to their highest potential, focusing on their needs rather than their accolades alone.
Another unique perspective Sherman brings to the pool deck is her background. Like many ASU swimmers and divers, Sherman is not originally from the United States but instead hails from Romania and hopes to serve as a success story for those who may be new to the United States.
"I know how hard it is," Sherman said. "You are 18 years old, you pack your bags and just move across the ocean by yourself."
Sherman began learning about coaching in college when she was injured and spent much time on the pool deck with the coaches rather than in the pool with the swimmers.
"Watching my teammates and helping the coaches, that's kind of when I got into coaching," Sherman said. "That's where my love for coaching came from."
Sherman is familiar with both swimming internationally and in the states because of her time coaching at Swim Neptune in Arizona. Associate head coach of ASU's team, Herbie Behm, said that her background brings a lot to the team, especially regarding recruiting.
"It fills a lot of roles," Behm said. "It's like kind of having a little bit of an 'in' with the international side and the in-state side of things."
Another one of her goals is to create trust with these new swimmers even before they step on campus. She aspires to have meetings and make phone calls with athletes so that when they arrive, they have a familiar face as their coach and mentor.
These goals aren't out of reach for Sherman, thanks to her previous experiences.
"Alex is really a coach that connects with athletes," Swim Neptune head coach Joe Zemaitis said. "She is experienced with the ups and downs of being a high-level athlete."
After the team's first practice, Sherman said she was placed with the backstroke group. This move by the team makes sense because of Sherman's coaching history in club swimming.
Sherman coached Keaton Jones, a swimmer who is committed to UC Berkeley and is the 2023 NCAA Men's Swim and Dive champion. Jones recently swam a 1:00.27 second 100M backstroke, placing first in the race at the IISA World Championships this year.
Outside of backstroke, Sherman serves as a jack of all trades, according to Behm.
"It's great that she can really go wherever we need her," Behm said. "But right now, she is doing great with the backstrokers."
Zemaitis said that he didn't think she'd be leaving Swim Neptune so soon, but he knew she wanted to coach at the collegiate level, so when ASU reached out to her, he knew it was a great opportunity for the team.
As Sherman enters her first season with the team, coaching in the pool is not her only priority. She wants to ensure that even after their swimming career is over, her athletes leave better people and better swimmers.
Edited by Vinny DeAngelis, Walker Smith, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.