Coach Don Watkinds of the Wave House San Diego Swim Team died of a heart attack during swim practice on July 27th.
Don Watkinds served as the head coach of Peninsula Aquatics San Diego from 1998-2009. In 2009 Peninsula Aquatics San Diego merged with the City of San Diego Swim to become the Wave House San Diego Swim Team, where Watkinds served as head coach until his passing. Throughout his career Watkinds was extremely involved in Disability swimming, coaching numerous Paralympians along the way.
In addition, Watkinds was the President of the San Diego Swim Coaches Association as well as the Disability Swimming Chairman for San Diego – Imperial Swimming. He was also a member of the USA Swimming National Disability Committee and San Diego – Imperial Swimming’s Board of Directors and Review Board.
Watkinds received numerous awards for his involvement in Disability Swimming. In 2008 he was presented with the Ikkos Award by the United States Olympic Committee for having a medalist in the Beijing Paralympic Games (Roy Perkins, who at one point held the S5 American Record in every event) . Further, one of his swimmers was named the USA Swimming Disability Swimmer of the Year in 2002 (Jennifer Johnson). In 1996 he won the prestigious Outstanding Service Award for Southern California Swimming and in 2005 he was the recipient of the USA Swimming National Disability Swimming Service Award.