Article image

by Erin Cassell

April 28, 2016

Swimming keeps me creative and my amazing teammates keep me in line

Suits. Business requires we dress for success, right? Perhaps the person who created the expression Think Tank was a swimmer.

As a small business owner, I have come to depend on swimming and my Masters teammates to keep me and my dream afloat, to keep my mind from racing, to help me focus, to relieve stress. It’s my moving meditation; swimming keeps me sane. I melt into the water and feel like it holds me, it supports me, and my stresses melt away. My mind enters into a place of peace.

Mine is a typical small business. I work so hard handling the business that comes in, I don’t have time to keep up with the business part of business. I make ends meet, but I was really stuck in a rut. I don’t make enough to pay anyone else to help me with that business stuff, but my team saw I was sinking. So, they jumped in. They volunteer their time and talents. They’re my cheerleaders, my mentors, minds always thinking. I’m indebted to my team and so grateful for them. We’re a team in and out of the water.

I have Sara Smith the bookkeeper, Jess Ayers the tax attorney, Maria Steyn the small business coach, Angie Kozlowski the social media guru and blogger. And, it seems so many other teammates either help me with my business, purchase my art, spread the word about my workshops, or attend workshops. These amazing women, my friends, these career-retired supermoms, they see that I work hard but can’t stay afloat without help. They saw they have strengths that fill in the gaps where my weaknesses are. So, these supermoms volunteered to help me keep up with everything. 

I pay back in tie dye and comic relief. I am the source of plenty of head shakes and giggles. It seems my nearsighted interpretations of the whiteboard and sad attempts at keeping intervals leaves much to be desired. Numbers confuse me. That explains a lot about the business stuff being so hard to wrap my brain around.

Oh, and pacing! I’m like a crazy puppy half the time. Often, I lose count because I’m having an epiphany. I’m swimming along, and intervals!? No! My brain is busy calculating how to tie or dye this or that a certain way to FINALLY have it work, or a new way to teach certain techniques for the kids to really understand.

Next thing I know I’ve swum an extra 50. I think Roberta Bardini, my lanemate who happens to be a chemistry professor, wouldn’t know what to do if she didn’t have to say “OK, go!” for every interval. “Oh, only you, Erin!” is a regular part of Coach Sue Mangan’s vocabulary. To which my reply is often “Good thing I’m purty!”

I’m glad I can entertain everyone. It seems being a flake—lost in my own world of creating—keeps everyone laughing. We make a good team. It seems there is truth in the theory that wearing a suit, looking sharp, leads to success. It works for us.

And with their help, we had a most fabulous recent underwater adventure: I landed an audition to be on the television show Shark Tank. Without them helping me with numbers, there’s simply no way I could face those sharks without being eaten alive. 


  • Human Interest


  • Teams
  • Biography