Influential Canadian Swim Coach Tony ‘TK’ Kennedy Dies at 78

Influential Canadian swim coach Tony “TK” Kennedy, who helped establish a prominent team in the Bahamas Swimming Federation, died last week at the age of 78, according to Bahamian outlet The Tribune.

According to the Tribune’s report, Kennedy “helped to establish the Barracuda Swim Club as one of the most competitive teams in the Bahamas.” Kennedy coached the team from 1984-1987 and from 1989-2000.

A number of Kennedy’s former swimmers discussed his influence with The Tribune.

“Everyone on the swimming scene would recognize him and know who he was,” Nicola McKinney, a former top swimmer who is now a London-based lawyer, said. “I think the impression that I had most about him was not only did he drive his swimmers hard, but he inspired us to be the best that we could be.

He was a big part of my life from I was six years old until I stopped swimming in 1988,” said another one of Kennedy’s former swimmers, Sean Andrews.

“He instilled in me the drive to excel in life and his lessons has followed me to this day. He was tenacious. He would get the best out of you. He was old school, so it was no pain, no gain with him. He was very competitive and he encouraged me to do all I could to be the best that I could be. I run my business the same way in a competitive manner.”

Dorian Roach, now the president of the Bahamas Triathlon Association, competed at a Pan American Games with Kennedy as the Bahamas team head coach.

“He was a great coach with a different style from the other coaches,” Roach said. “He was very eccentric, but he was fun to be around. I remember if you were doing something that he didn’t like, he would let you know about it.”

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1 month ago

He was my coach at baracuda’s he nicknamed me Rocket
He was absolutely the best coach I ever had
44 years on and I still count him as one of the most influential people in my world
Incredible man
I am blessed to have had him as my coach

3 years ago

In Toronto Tony was the first coach of the YORK AQUATIC CLUB in 1967 . It was started in the bourough of york in the new CENTENNIAL POOL. i hope others of his first members write something on here. The Toronto Star had a picture of us in 1968 or 1969. Tony was fun, tough and caring. He was a drill master and the lengths to swim at the end of our two hour practice could add up quickly. David Dwyer and I learned first hand by singing; “who put the bop in the bop shu bop shu bop….” at the end of each length. The rest periods for us got shorter and shorter until we hand no breath for… Read more »

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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