Beth (Slaughter) Whittle was a four-year letterwinner in swimming for the Wildcats. She won the 1996 NAIA national championship in the 200 backstroke. She continues to hold the Linfield record in the 400 individual medley and set three other school marks during her time at Linfield.
What are you currently doing today?
I am living in Minneapolis with my husband, Tim, and our 5-month-old daughter, Summer. We just survived our first winter in Minnesota (moving from St. Louis, Missouri). During this academic year, I worked in the Macalester College athletic department (where my husband is the new head men's basketball coach). My two roles were swim coach and recruiting assistant for the athletic department. I'm also the swim coach for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Twin Cities triathlon team: "Team In Training.” It’s a non-profit organization that raises money for blood cancer research.
At what point did you know swimming was going to be something you were involved with throughout your life?
I don't think there was ever an "aha" moment where I realized swimming would always be a huge part of my life. Swimming has been an integral part of my life since I joined my local club team at age 9. I fell in love with the sport and enjoyed the camaraderie, healthy competition, and hidden life-lessons all the way thru college. Nearly 13 years after graduating from Linfield, my former teammates are still some of my best friends. When I completed my undergraduate degree, I stayed involved in the sport by coaching swimming at the club level while teaching elementary school. I then spent a couple of years where I wasn't coaching - but still swimming for fitness. While in grad school to complete a master’s in athletic administration, my passion for coaching was renewed. I was a graduate assistant at Idaho State University and taught swimming courses to college undergraduates while working on my degree. Upon graduating from Idaho State, I landed my first college coaching job, and moved to Tennessee to coach at The University of the South, where I met my husband who was there to coach basketball. Nine years later, I have coached at three other institutions, including the University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, and most recently, Macalester College. At this point, I cannot imagine not being involved in the sport that has given me so much.
You won a national championship in swimming. What does that title mean to you?
I'm glad to be able to say I was a national champion - and thank my coaches and teammates for helping me become one. I am incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to be a small part of a national powerhouse team where I was supported and challenged in all the right ways. My Linfield swimming experience gave me memories that will last a lifetime. Now, I am excited to get my daughter in the pool to help her develop a love for swimming. With Tim being a basketball coach, and me being a swim coach, friends and family often joke that Summer will be a great water polo player! We plan to introduce her to lots of sports and see what she enjoys.
What's your fondest memory at Linfield?
I can't imagine choosing just one favorite memory. My Linfield experience gave me the opportunity to be a part of a committed swim team, make lifelong friends, and ultimately provided me with an outstanding education while having a lot of fun. Some favorite memories include meeting my two roommates on move-in day my freshman year, running through the sprinklers in the quad, playing capture the flag, super soaker (water gun) fights and water balloon wars, making and hiding a time capsule on campus, hanging out with friends in Fred Meyer Lounge, trips to Portland, swimming in the Northwest Conference, dinners after swim meets at El Primo, student teaching, cheering on other Wildcat sports, the look of campus when it snowed, going to the $1.50 movie theater, enjoying concerts and comedians on campus, ice cream in Dillin on Sunday nights, and commencement in the Oak Grove (it didn't rain until the very end of the ceremony).
What makes Linfield such a great place for athletics?
I think Linfield is a great place for athletics for many reasons. The physical education building is centrally located, making it a focus of the campus. It's a beautiful campus, and the weather changes based on the seasons, which makes it fun to walk around campus throughout the academic year, and also a joy to view outdoor sports. The Northwest Conference is competitive, and being a NCAA Division III institution provides student-athletes with a great opportunity to pursue excellence both in the classroom and in athletics.
What's it like to have two coaches in the same house?
I met my husband in 2001 when we simultaneously began our college coaching careers (at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.). I think having two coaches in the family makes it easier for us to understand and support each other professionally. Coaches have unique hours due to practice schedules, competition, travel, and recruiting. We make it work, and with the two of us being winter sport coaches, we definitely spend plenty of quality time together in the "off-season." We love the summer time!