Spencer Robertson (Assistant Coach) and Aidan Chudleigh (Head Coach) with the Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club. (Image courtesy of Angie Abdou)

Spencer Robertson (Assistant Coach) and Aidan Chudleigh (Head Coach) with the Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club. (Image courtesy of Angie Abdou)

Dolphins head into championships with new coaching staff

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

As the Dolphins head into the end of short course season, the team has amped up its coaching staff. In February, Spencer Robertson joined the team as a new Assistant Coach.

Spencer Robertson grew up swimming competitively for HYACK in Coquitlam. He specialized in backstroke and then breaststroke, excelling in the 200-meter events. Eventually, he switched to the Marlins, a summer club, where he also took up coaching. Robertson comes highly recommended from that program.

Spencer Robertson and his wife Karen moved to Fernie in 2019, looking for work-life balance. “We wanted to start a family and were drawn to the lifestyle of raising a child in a small town.” Their wish came true with the birth of their son Kai, January 2021. The coaching schedule fits perfectly with Robertson’s commitment to parenting.

“I love swimming,” Robertson says. He remembers being attracted to the sport from a very young age. In addition to his time competing and coaching, he also life-guarded for twelve years.

Robertson says he is drawn to coaching because of all the lessons it has to offer kids. “I like seeing the dedication of the kids and witnessing that dedication turn into rewards.”

Robertson’s goal for the club is “to make beautiful, graceful swimmers, then the speed comes naturally.” Robertson especially wants to help Fernie’s athletes develop a feel for the water. “You can’t exactly teach feel for the water, but you can guide swimmers toward it.”

Shortly after Robertson joined the club, Aidan Chudleigh returned in the Head Coach role. Chudleigh had already begun doing some planning and junior-coach mentorship from Australia before Christmas, after being gone from Fernie for over a year. He then stepped back onto deck Monday, February 14.

Chudleigh had intended to move home to Australia on a more permanent basis, but found he missed Fernie, particularly the connection to the outdoors and the active population. The Elk Valley Dolphins were thrilled to welcome him back. Chudleigh’s enthusiasm, his expertise in the sport, his connection to the athletes, his creative practices, and his energetic commitment to the team make him a deeply valued leader.

“I’m looking forward to building on all the great work done this season,” says Chudleigh.

Several Dolphins will be attending the Northern and Interior British Columbia Divisional Championship on the weekend of February 26 under the leadership of Coach Aidan.

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