June Woolger, a longtime coach in the state of Florida, has passed away. She was 80 years old.
Woolger was a native Canadian and was an accomplished tennis player at the University of Toronto in college, but after her competitive days were done turned her focus to swimming.
After finishing college, Woolger began her coaching career teaching swimming lessons but in 1969 moved to south Florida. She was hired there by International Swimming Hall of Famer Jack Nelson at the Pine Crest School, and the pair together built it into the perennial power that it remains today. Woolger then followed Nelson to the Fort Lauderdale Swim Club in 1975, and Nelson was named the head U.S. women’s coach for the 1976 Olympic Games.
“She takes all swim kids into her arms, her soul, and life,” said Nelson in a Sun-Sentinel article in 1994. “I don’t know if she can swim or not, but I know she’s a fantastic coach and could go teach at any top-notch program in the world. She’s that special.”
In 1986, Woolger formed the Plantation Swim Team, which eventually grew into a huge program of its own with two 50 meter pools in its complex.
After retirement, Woolger volunteered with Sunrise swimming where her daughter Christi, a former All-American at Florida, works.