Top row: Frank Comerford, Lucy Jacks. Bottom row: Kiera Hansen, Olivia Howse, Grace Hayden

Top row: Frank Comerford, Lucy Jacks. Bottom row: Kiera Hansen, Olivia Howse, Grace Hayden

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim into Season with New Coaching Staff

By Angie Abdou

Frank Comerford has recently moved to Canada to take on the role of head coach of the Elk Valley Dolphins. He comes to the team with nearly fifty years of coaching experience. He has led teams through Canada and United States and coached national age group record holders. His expansive career has taken him to Senior Sectionals, Futures, Nationals, Olympic Trials, and various international games with teams from the United States and Canada.

“I grew up as a football, basketball, and baseball fanatic,” says Comerford. “When I got hurt playing football at age 16, I started swimming as a challenge from the kids on the local swim team. I became a butterfly specialist.”

He started coaching just before he enlisted in the USAF. “I got the coaching bug bad when I was on active duty, and I returned to school to get the training I needed to coach professionally.” He is university trained in exercise physiology, with a focus on swimming and waterpolo.

Comerford’s science-based training methods focus heavily on perfecting technique and building a strong aerobic base. The Dolphins are excited to work with him and benefit from his extensive experience and deep knowledge.

Joining Frank Comerford, Lucy Jacks is also new to the coaching team. She moved to Fernie from Queensland, Australia two years ago and is currently teaching grade three at the Fernie Academy. She participated in various school swimming squads in Australia, as both a swimmer and a coach, and is excited to bring her knowledge of the sport to the Dolphins. “I love coaching,” says Jacks. “Whatever school I’m at, I always get involved with the sport programs.” She will be coaching the red pod (swimmers 11-13).

Teen swimmers Olivia Howse, Kiera Hansen, and Grace Hayden will be working as Junior Coaches and leading the “pups” group throughout the season. Kiera Hansen enters her second season in this role. While Howse and Hayden are new to the Dolphin coaching squad, both have previous coaching experience – Howse with the special Olympics program and Hayden with rookie rugby – and both bring a passion for, and an expertise in, the sport.

Dolphins are keen to head into the 2021-2022 with this highly qualified and enthusiastic coaching team. Practices begin September 13th. Information on new swimmer tryouts can be found on the website.