COLUMBIA — More than 40 people gathered Monday evening to give feedback on the Columbia Public School District’s search for a new high school head swimming coach.
After 33 years as the Rock Bridge High School and Hickman High School swim coach, John Hamilton resigned this year. At the meeting, parents, students and community members spoke about what qualities they wanted in a new head coach.
“I know we want somebody who wants everybody to feel welcome,” Lauren Sicht, a junior swimmer at Hickman, said. “It doesn’t matter their skill level. I felt welcome, and I was given the same chances as everyone else; I felt heard.”
In addition to being a strong motivator, community members also wanted someone who could be flexible with practice schedules and communicate well with students and parents.
Students, parents and district officials alike also wanted to see a greater level of cooperation between high school teams and club swimming teams.
“We want it to be a positive experience where kids feel connected to their high school,” Rock Bridge Athletic Director Jennifer Mast said. “To use high school swimming as an addendum to club is not where we want to go with this. We want club swimming in Columbia to be strong, and we want high school swimming to be strong."
District Athletic Director Bruce Whitesides said they hope to reach a decision in the next two weeks.