Matt Davis will be the first to admit he has been guilty of having tunnel vision.
Since he took over the swimming and diving teams during the 2005-06 season, Hudson has been nothing short of outstanding in terms of individual and team success.
But since the driven and intense Davis was so obsessed with tinkering and fine-tuning his well-oiled machine, sitting back and enjoying the experience hasn’t exactly been his style.
"In my first eight, 10 years of coaching, I was super driven," Davis said. "I always thought, ‘It needs to be done this way.’ If we miss one practice or if we miss five minutes, we’re not going to be as good."
The Explorers, both the boys and girls, have been plenty good.
Conference, sectional and district titles, as well as top-10 finishes at the state meet, have been the norm for Hudson during the last 13 years.
It took a little bit of time for him to get the memo, but Davis has finally spent some time reflecting on a job well done.
"I’ve changed my mentality a little bit after having some of the groups we’ve had," Davis said. "I’m trying to enjoy the process more. The last handful of years, we have been trying to get our kids to embrace it. You should be proud of your successes."
Davis has seen current senior swimmer Jay Johnson; former swimmer Ross Palazzo, who is now a senior at the University of Florida; and former diver Alex Obendorf, who competed at West Virginia University, win state titles.
He also has coached numerous state qualifiers in both genders and has led the girls team to eight straight top-10 finishes at the state meet.
"I do look back at what we accomplished from where I started," Davis said. "It’s great to see where we’re at. I want to be here a long time. I want to have the same success for the next 13 years that I’ve had for the first 13 years."
Davis, like many coaches, teaches swimmers to focus on times and not places. He also preaches patience.
Despite all of their accomplishments, great Hudson swimmers aren’t born from their mothers’ wombs.
There is plenty of training, aches and pains and even frustration during the brutal practices that take place early in the morning and after school.
In fact, a number of the Explorers’ state qualifiers were pretty ordinary in the pool prior to tackling Davis’ difficult but extremely beneficial boot camps.
"The goal for all of our kids is to get faster," Davis said. "If we win, that’s icing on the cake because we train every day. We can’t control what other people do.
"We really try to focus on improving ourselves. If we go fast at the end of the year and we hit our goal time, we can’t be upset if somebody beats us."
Getting beat by another swimmer isn’t terribly disheartening for Davis. For him, it’s all about what happens in the future.
"If we fail and if we learn from it, then it’s not a failure," Davis said.
Davis has seen many of his former swimmers pay visits to practice over the years. He also has been blessed to have loyal coaches who embrace the same messages he preaches.
The coaches and many of the high school swimmers don’t just work with Davis during the winter.
They see him throughout the year due to their commitment to the Hudson Explorers Aquatics Team, which has featured many swimmers who have competed nationally.
"The best high school teams in Ohio have the same stability with coaching and with club," Davis said. "It’s a huge advantage because you get to know the kids. You get to understand what they need in terms of training and how they can get better."
Davis would love to see a few more state champions from the boys team. He also is hoping to guide Hudson’s first female to the top of the podium and coach the Explorers’ first state champion relay team.
The 2018-19 girls’ squad has a chance to win a relay title and something even more prestigious that Hudson has yet to accomplish during Davis’ tenure.
That would be a team state championship.
Regardless of what happens, though, Davis will certainly spend more time enjoying the ride. Both his assistant coaches and pupils have been almost like a second family to him since they spend so much time at the pool.
Since that is the case, it’s important for Davis to cherish not only his team’s accomplishments, but also the relationships with his athletes he hopes will last a lifetime.
"I’ve had some things personally that have been going on in my life that have made me sit back and think about things that are more important," Davis said.
"Having the relationships with the swimmers and to see them grow as people and to see them achieve things that they never thought were possible ... those things are more rewarding than seeing kids on top of the podium."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.