In a shakeup of significant proportions in YMCA swimming, the Broward County YMCA in Florida has lured Matt Donovan away from the Somerset Valley YMCA in New Jersey to become their new head coach.
Donovan has been the head coach at Somerset Valley since May of 2000, and a YMCA coach since 1994. When he took over the team, it had 50 swimmers, and it grew to over 400 and one of the most successful YMCA programs in the country during his tenure.
He was named the 2013 Coach of the Meet for the YMCA Long Course Nationals. His women’s team was 6th at the 2014 short course championships, his men’s team was 5th, and the two combined for an overall 6th-place team finish at a meet where team scores are more important than most at the club level.
The move is not as simple as just replacing the old head coach, however. John Spire is the head coach of the current team that holds the name the YMCA of Broward County, but operates out of just one of the organization’s three sites. He will remain on staff, and in fact it is at his behest that the YMCA will be uniting three programs at three different YMCA’s into a single program that will serve the entire county – sort of a new formation.
The YMCA of Broward County team this year sent a single swimmer, Mark Burnley, to the YMCA National Championships, where he placed as high as 69th in the 500 free (4:46.57).
The other two programs, which to this point have focused on competition in the local South Florida league, are the Greater Hollywood YMCA and the Pembroke Pines YMCA.