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Saugus hires new swimming coach

Canyons club coach to lead Centurion teams

Posted: July 18, 2008 1:34 a.m.
Updated: September 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Vicky Donnelly once swam for James Klipfel. Now she's replacing him as the head swimming coach at Saugus High School.

Donnelly, coaches at the Canyons Aquatic Club, is a former Saugus and San Diego State swimmer.

"She came in highly qualified and it was pretty much an easy decision for us after meeting with her and interviewing her," Saugus athletic director Kevin Miner said.

Once the rule prohibiting club swim coaches to also coach high school teams was overturned after the season, Donnelly jumped at the opportunity.

She wasn't the only one. Valencia hired Canyons instructor Mike Bechtoldt after Kathleen Perdisatt resigned and now the two have a friendly rivalry going.

"We've already been chatting it up," Donnelly said, laughing.

Donnelly was once a member of Foothill League record setting teams in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay as well as an All-Foothill League performer in the backstroke.

She took her expertise to Canyons where she's worked with a variety of swimmers from the league.

Though it may appear there's a conflict of interest in coaching at both Saugus and other league swimmers at the same time, Donnelly doesn't think there will be a problem.

"I know that there's definitely going to be coaches saying, ‘well you're now the Saugus coach and you also coach our rival high school swimmers,' but I really don't think that's going to be a factor at all," she said. "What I'm going to do with Saugus is make them the best team they could possibly be."

That experience at Canyons, where's she's coached since 2003, was one of the factors for the hiring. Many of the great Hart and Valencia swimmers have been under her tutelage.

"She's had her hand in the development of a lot of good swimmers in this valley," Miner said.

Klipfel, who was an assistant when Donnelly swam at Saugus, and assistant coach Krista Botton both resigned at the end of the season for personal reasons, but Miner said that Botton may still help out with the program.

The Centurions finished third in the girls league finals and fourth in the boys this past season.

"(Donnelly) is very knowledgeable in training methods, and some of the newer training methods and has some great ideas about how to bring the program to the next level," Miner said.

Boys' volleyball job at Saugus still open
The Centurions are also in search of a new boys' volleyball coach. Ed Spooner was let go after just one season at Saugus.

"It just wasn't the right fit," Miner said.

Jared Ambrose, the brother of Saugus girls' varsity coach Zach Ambrose, has been running the program in the summer and is a strong candidate for the position.

But Saugus will take their time hiring for the spring sport. Without a teaching position available, the amount of candidates slims.

"We're not going to jump into anything real quick," Miner said.


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