Sports

Kentlake High School hires boys swim coach | Boys Swim

Seth Dawson plans to stop Kentlake's revolving door for boys swim coaches.

Dawson, who was coaching boys and girls high school swimming in Corbett, Oregon, last year, has taken over the Falcons boys swim and dive team this season after Diana Ekstrom decided not to return for a second season at the helm.

"I plan to be here a long time," Dawson said. "I've heard about it, that they've had a hard time keeping coaches."

He is the Falcons' fourth coach in as many years, but he intends to stop that trend.

In 2009, Kentlake went undefeated in the South Puget Sound League North Division, and Dawson is looking to improve on that as well as help the Falcons do even better in the post-season.

After growing up in Vancouver, Wash., and swimming at Hudson's Bay High School, Dawson swam on scholarship at California State University at Bakersfield where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and sports management.

He couldn't pass up an opportunity to move closer to home when some coaches he knew with Valley Aquatics (VAST) suggested he take a position with the club where he now coaches 10 to 14 year olds.

"It was a good opportunity... so I thought it would be a good fit," Dawson said.

His supervisor with VAST also works at Kentlake and about two months ago she mentioned to Dawson that the boys swim coach position was open and suggested he look into it.

"I really enjoy working with kids," he said. "When you're on a big club team, it's more about the individual. But with high school, it's a team sport and the kids are helping each other. And I enjoy being a mentor."

After his first practice with the Falcons on Monday, he said plans to make it fun and challenging so they can enjoy the team atmosphere and be competitive, without swimming laps endlessly.

"My focus is always on technique and conditioning," he said. "And bringing some fun and challenging things (to practice). They'll get out of it what they put into it."

He will have a core of strong returners including senior David Dougherty, who was a captain last year and swam on relays at state, junior Tanner Keeling-Garcia who had qualified for four state qualifying times by the league meet last season, as well as senior Christian Knoblauch, among others.

Dawson said he will build around those returning swimmers as his core and work with the guys who are less experienced to create the kind of team that can perform well at the state meet in February.

"The success comes from making it a team," he said. "We need to have depth. You develop those kids (who may not swim club) who have some potential and talent. Then they'll take off."

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