By Amanda Church
Tara Lonergan has been coaching the Special Olympics Massachusetts Easton swim team for over 7 years. Tara loves coaching the Easton All Stars. Tara said, “I love being able to see each one of my athletes grow as a swimmer as well as a person.”
I asked Tara what amazes her most about her athletes. “My athletes have amazing drive and ambition. They are also extremely talented swimmers and kind and caring individuals,” she replied. I also asked Tara, if she had to describe one word that best fits her team, what would it be. Tara said in response, “Family.”
All Special Olympics coaches have some challenges, of course. She told me that her “Hardest challenge is ensuring that my athletes are being challenged as individuals, as well as a team.” Tara’s goals for the Easton All Stars is to send two or three athletes to National Games in 2014. She’d also like to recruit more athletes on her team.
I also asked Coach Lonergan what’s the most important thing to remember about coaching Special Olympics. The first thing Tara said, “Is to ensure the athletes in Special Olympics do their best. It does not matter if they come in first or last, all that matters is they tried their very best and to show good sportsmanship.” Tara also is very happy when she hears Easton cheering on their teammates, whether it is at practice or at our swimming qualifier, or at Summer Games at Harvard University.
Outside of Special Olympics, Tara is a graduate from Stonehill College with a degree in teaching. Tara also just got her master’s degree at Bridgewater State University in special education. She currently teaches at the Barnum School in Taunton. She is also very busy planning her summer wedding! Tara finished our interview by saying, “SOMA helped me realize what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and I am so lucky to have realized my passion.”
Tara is an awesome coach, role model and teacher. Thank you Tara for all your hard work and dedication.