Former members of the Cumberland High School Clippers’ swim team in Cumberland, Rhode Island, are paying tribute to a coaching legend who passed away this week.
Bruce Calvert spent 41 years as the Clippers’ Head Coach and the school’s Aquatics Director prior to his retirement at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season. As the first swim coach at Cumberland High School, over the course of his career Calvert guided 6 swimmers to All-American honors. Under his reign, the boys’ team earned 7 state titles, while the girls’ took home 6 championship trophies. With Calvert as coach, the 1977-78 boys’ team also won the New England Championships.
Calvert retired with an overall record of 277-93 in dual meets. In 1987, he was inducted into Rhode Island’s Aquatic Hall of Fame, followed by Cumberland High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Several swimmers who were once part of the Cumberland tradition took to social media to express what competing under Coach Calvert meant to them, even now, years later. Kyle Johnson, 2009 Cumberland graduate expressed, “To this day, I look back and realize how much he pushed us in the pool and how I have been able to integrate those lessons in life. He taught us never to give up, to build goals, have a passion for what we are doing, and to use our head, heart, and guts to achieve anything.”
Chip Redihan, a 2010 graduate, commented, “Bruce was the perfect coach for the high school because he was someone that appealed to every swimmer’s own unique style of learning. He showed such creativity and was able to find the perfect method or technique to help each individual improve and reach their own potential.”
Another former swimmer who runs the blog “The Hungry Twenties” dedicated a post to her past coach, saying “he would put in as much as his swimmers put in, always. He’d work late with them, he’d come in early for them, and he’d help push them to be their best. He loved the Cumberland swim program and swim in general and dedicated his life to taking care of the pool, coaching his team, and developing great talent.” You can read her entire moving entry here.