Glenda Pae, Pioneer of Swimming in Central PA, Dies at 87

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 2

April 10th, 2023 Club, News

Longtime Pennsylvania swim coach Glenda Pae died on December 25, 2022. She was 87 years old.

Pae founded the West Shore YMCA swim team in central Pennsylvania in 1972 and led the team to 24 YMCA State titles and multiple top 5 finishes at the YMCA Nationals.

Pae was inducted into the Penn State Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. In 1999, she was given the Joseph G. Rogers Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. That award is a lifetime achievement award of sorts for YMCA coaches, given for “dedication, accomplishment, and excellence in YMCA Competitive Swimming & Diving.”

Besides her coaching accomplishments, Pae was a longtime administrated in the YMCA system, including as a National Field Vice President f Competitive Swimming and Diving.

She retired from the YMCA after 39 years of service.

She also was the person who invited G. Michael Gobrecht into the program in the 1990s, and 33-years later he is the program’s current head coach.

Gobrecht remembered his former boss in a Facebook post shortly after her death.

“Back in 1990, Glenda (Mrs Pae) asked me “Mike…..we could really use someone like yourself to assist with our Competitive Swimming Program at WSY, but you need to be a leader and a great mentor to young people” (although I think she had some more colorful language than those words). Glenda was one of my coaches when I was younger at WSY and knew of the many “not so great decisions” I made, yet she asked me to be part of the staff at WSY.

It’s been 33 years and all I ever wanted to do was keep my promise to Glenda of developing great young people and making her happy that she asked me to help back in 1990.
We will all miss Glenda as she was such an awesome role model to all of us! We will continue what you started in the early 70’s at WSY Swimming of Central Pennsylvania

Pae is survived by her husband of 65 years, Robert James ”Boog” Pae Sr., and her beloved children; Jack McClain (Bonnie), Desiree (Pae) Fox, and Robert Pae Jr. (Stephanie). In addition to her children, Glenda is survived by grandchildren Christopher Fox (Jenna), Ashley Harned (Thomas), Aimee Fox, Travis McClain (Jennifer), Dustin Pae, and Chad Pae, as well as great-grandchildren, Vivian Harned, Reeden Harned, Miranda McClain, and Memphis McClain, her sister Kim Rodkey and an additional wealth of family and friends who loved her profoundly.

A remembrance of life will be held for Coach Pae on May 7th at the West Shor YMCA annex.


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7 months ago

Glenda, was a true Treasure for our YMCA Competitive Swimming Movement!

Stanley Clark
7 months ago

I saw those WSY teams up close and personal from January 1973. They raised the bar that led to great things with swimming in the region. Had the honor to work with her a few years back, still tough as nails

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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