Jay Benner is the new head coach for Bellingham Bay Swim Team in Bellingham, Washington, that will move the local club to the next level of success as an organization both in and out of the water while staying focused on team’s mission, vision, and values.
“My coaching philosophy has been shaped by my own experience as a swimmer and the coaches I swam for and coached with over the years. My experience was unique in many ways from what I did as a swimmer and the experience I’ve had as a coach, which includes 3 Olympic Games and having developed and coached 8 time Olympic medalist Nathan Adrian. I’ve always believed in emphasizing the process and taking pride and building character throughout the journey. I try to get the swimmers to set the bar high and dream big in setting challenging goals that will give them superior tools when they go off to school and need to compete in the world. I’m very big on teaching ownership to the swimmers in that they learn to how to set goals and that the swimmers drive the process. I try to instill a toughness and determination in the swimmers that will carry them far beyond the pool in how they approach their swimming and life in general. My own background and experiences allowed me to sell the vision of pursuing a dream and getting kids to go outside of their comfort zone in their own pursuit and come away feeling like they had had a great experience in the sport. I’ve been in the sport now almost 45 years and feel very fortunate that I’m still passionate and excited about working with kids,” said Benner in a statement to the BBST board of directors.
Career highlights include:
*Coached and developed Olympic Gold Medalist and American Record holder, 8 time Olympic Medalist Nathan Adrian.
*Coached 2008 US Olympian and Pan American Games medalist Dana Kirk.
*Many years of coaching experience as an Olympic, International, and National level coach for the USA, Canada, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and many other countries.
*Numerous athletes under Benner have gone on to compete at the very highest levels of swimming through Division I, II, and III level universities, as well as on National and Olympic Teams.
*Years of experience with highly successful clubs around the country including Tacoma Swim Club, SwimMAC, & Ridgefield Aquatics.
*Inducted into the Pacific Northwest Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.
“The position at Bellingham excites me for a number of reasons. Sean (former BBST head coach) has already done a great job in setting the foundation and building a culture of excellence. The size of the program is in line with the majority of years I spent coaching at Tacoma Swim Club where we had 85-120 swimmers and had 7 swimmers at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials and 7 swimmers make US National Teams. Living in Bellingham is also a big enticement as I spent a good deal of youth in Bellingham. I’ve always wanted to settle in the area for the quality of life and the community feel,” said Brenner.
Former head coach Sean Muncie left the team August 18 to head the Waves Aquatic Swim Team in Spokane.