Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Dolphins swimmer becomes coach

 

August 31, 2017

Jackie St. Clair swam for the Dolphins from age 6 to 18. She wants to start an adult program.

Haines native Jackie St. Clair will take over as head coach of the Dolphins Swim Team this year.

St. Clair, who grew up in Haines and swam for the Dolphins from elementary school through high school, said she has big plans for the team.

Last year the Dolphins had more than 40 students ranging from ages 5 to 14 participate. This was the biggest group the Dolphins have had the past several years, said assistant coach Jim Green. St. Clair said she is expecting about the same turnout this year.

"It's a young team. I'm hoping to get older swimmers in high school to join," St. Clair said.

St. Clair said with the young swimmers, "it's important to keep things fun for retention." The team is looking for someone to take over and expand the "Little Dolphins" program for students learning how to swim, which was started by former coach Erin Pratt. Twenty students were taught how to swim and "leveled-up" from the program last year.

"Living in Southeast Alaska, swimming is such an important skill to have," St. Clair said.

The Dolphins are also searching for another assistant coach. "We need more bodies on deck," St. Clair said.

She also hopes to get a "Masters" swimming program for adults started again.

The Dolphins have two big swim meets this year. The first is Southeast Championships in December and the other is Age Group Championships in February. St. Clair said the age-group meet was moved from Fairbanks to Juneau, making it accessible for more Haines swimmers to participate.

St. Clair said she is looking forward to seeing how the relay team that went to Junior Olympics last year will compete. The four girls each turned 11 and will now compete in an older age class.

St. Clair served as an assistant coach last year with longtime coaches Jim Green and KC O'Connor. She graduated in May from the University of Alaska Southeast with a degree in anthropology and has worked this summer as the education coordinator for the Haines Sheldon Museum.

"I love swimming. I'm so happy to be part of this team again," St. Clair said.

The Dolphins' swim season starts Wednesday, Sept. 6 with an afterschool practice for new team members. A party and informational meeting will start in the school cafeteria at 5 p.m. Practices begin Thursday, Sept. 7 for returning swimmers.

 
 

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