Watch out for the Barracudas! The Barracudas are fearsome, but only if you are a member of a swim team that swims in the same conference as the Riverside Swim Club, the Intersuburban Swim Conference champions since 2012. 

Winning this year’s conference meet later this month would be special for the team and its coach, Heather Mathis, who will be leaving the Swim Club after 20 years.

Mathis has a strong reputation not only as a coach at the swim club but also at Riverside-Brookfield High School. She coupled that with her teaching career in the Cicero school district where she has been for nine years. 

With a degree in secondary education from Augustana College, she continued her education, attaining a master’s degree in school leadership and administration from Concordia University. 

Her master’s degree has given her the opportunity to become part of the administration in Cicero, a job she will start in this school year. That’s the reason she will be leaving her position at the swim club.

Swim club board member Amy Regan expressed the sadness all are experiencing with Mathis leaving, but they know she will do a wonderful job in her new position. Because Mathis has touched the lives of so many children and adults over the years, there will be on open house in her honor on July 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. on the club lawn. All who know Mathis, past and present swimmers and club members alike are asked to stop by the club and wish her well.

Regan said Coach Mathis has “done so much for the kids” including the creation of the “Mini-Cudas” this year, which focuses on younger swimmers and has a smaller swimmer-to-coach ratio.

It is just one of the things in her tenure at the swim club that Mathis has achieved to make it, as Regan says, “a fun place.” 

Proof of the fun will happen Thursday, July 14 when the street in front of the Club will be blocked off and there will be a big water slide. Don’t be surprised if Heather Mathis will take her turn on the slide. After all, she is a fun coach.

While Mathis will be bringing her talents as an administrator, I don’t think she is going to completely hang up her swim fins and will be back to visit her friends and take a dip.