Ensworth Coffee Talk

Ensworth GrindHave you been to our Natatorium on the high school campus?  Since the location backs up to our football stadium, most of us have seen the outside when cheering on our Tigers every Friday night. If you have never seen the inside, I highly recommend peeking your head in next time you are on the high school campus.

It takes a solid team and hard work to keep a facility that large running and here to tell us all about it is the Director of Aquatics, Christian Bahr.

coachCHRISTIANbahrYou started your journey with Ensworth with the opening of our new Natatorium. Where were you before Ensworth and how did you find yourself heading up the swim program?

I worked at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida before coming to Ensworth.  During my time at Bolles I worked full-time as a swimming coach and assistant resident dean of the boys’ dormitory.

Bolles’ swimming program has a rich history as one of the premier swimming programs in the United States.  The job literally took me around the world, thanks in large part to the kids I had the privilege to work with.  I had the opportunity to coach swimmers at meets like the US Olympic Trials, the US Open, US Junior Nationals, and the 2012 Olympic Games.  I also traveled to Russia (Vladivostok, Moscow, and Kazan) to work with a team overseas and to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to work with NBC.

I found myself looking into Ensworth after I was called about a different job with a swimming team in Nashville.  Being a part of a school community such as I was at Bolles, I knew that I wanted to continue in a similar environment.  I also knew I wanted to work with a school that was interested in building a successful aquatics program.  My wife and I actually flew ourselves out to Nashville just to take a look at Ensworth after doing a bit of research on this incredible community.  What I found at Ensworth was not only a group of motivated faculty members and students, but a community of genuinely caring people who were just as concerned about my happiness as they are about the success of the programs I oversee.  

Tell us a little bit about the a typical day for you and what goes into running the Natatorium.

I typically arrive on campus before 5:30 am.  Beginning at 5:45 I coach a Masters Swimming Team three days a week and a small group of Ensworth students two days a week.  Following a 7:40 a.m. Fitness meeting it is time for the school day.  Some days that means meeting, scheduling, and planning for things such as Swim School, Lifeguard classes, summer camps, facility maintenance, lifeguard schedules, parties, swim meets, security procedures, etc.  On other days my school day is filled with teaching classes to Ensworth students through our Fitness program.  After school I work with a group of approximately 30 year-round swimmers, 8 of whom attend Ensworth.  I also oversee our entire High School Swimming & Diving Team.  I typically leave campus between 6:30 and 7:00 pm.  The days are pretty full.

As to what goes into running the Natatorium…very good people.  I am incredibly fortunate to have a cadre of intelligent, excited, and passionate people with whom to work, from Krysten Call our Swim School Director to everyone who works in the Operations department with Joe Cazeault.  Their expertise, guidance, dedication, and joy are priceless assets to the programmatic success we strive for in Aquatics.

Oh…the last thing that goes into running this place?  Plenty of chlorine.

IMG_4693You stay so busy during the week, what do you enjoy doing to unwind on the weekends?

I have two beautiful little girls, Salem (4) and Celia (almost 2).  I think that they unwind me!  In a former life, unwinding meant surfing.  There are no beaches close by, so I relax by reading, writing (though never enough) running, hiking, playing with my children, and zoning out to an episode of House of Cards.

And if there’s a swim meet being streamed on the internet…I’m watching it!

If you could trade places with any Ensworth teacher for a day who would it be and why?

I would trade places with Dave Berry for theater class.  I have zero theater experience, but I have always been a literature lover and was, once upon a time, a writer.  I think I’ve always enjoyed the written word because of the escape it provides from the everyday world and the ability to slip into someone’s life and experience.  It would be fascinating to be a part of the process that brings characters and stories to life on a stage.

What faculty member at the lower school would you like to see featured next?

Bill Arthur.  The rare occasions I have to cross his path, whether on campus or hiking the Warner Parks, he is filled with genuine joy and enthusiasm.  It would help all of us to share that joy with as many people as possible.


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3 Responses to Ensworth Coffee Talk

  1. I enjoyed the story on Coach Bahr. My daughter is lucky enough to be under his watchful eye for many hours per week. Thanks for all your hard work coach!

  2. Catie Johnson says:

    Excellent spotlight! One of the draws to Ensworth for our family was the Natatorium. However, a place is nothing without its people. Just last week after swim practice, my daughters were saying what a great coach Coach Bahr is. When I asked them what they thought made him such a great coach their emphatic response was….”well, he believes in what he’s doing.” His positivity and enthusiasm for the sport and his work with the swimmers is evident.

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