Boardman’s O’Halloran named swim coach of year

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In 1985, Terry O’Halloran started the Boardman High School swimming program.

His tenure as the Spartans coach ended Saturday as he hugged the four members of his 400-yard freestyle relay team and handed each of them a medal at the Division I Ohio State Swimming and Diving Championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium.

Just moments after Kyle Kimerer, Matthew DunLany, Noah Basista and Callen Aulizia completed their relay sealing a ninth-place finish in the team standings and as they were preparing to receive their medals, O’Halloran was named the Division I Coach of the Year, shocking the veteran coach.

“Any time you’re selected by your colleagues and the state association, it’s a tremendous honor,” O’Halloran said. “It’s awfully difficult to put into a couple of words.

“It’s been a great run,” O’Halloran said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, though there’s been a lot of pressure involved, too. I’ve had the pleasure of coaching very smart kids. They go on to do great things and be great leaders.”

O’Halloran praised his wife, Jan, to whom he has been married for 45 years.

“She’s been absolutely fantastic,” he said. “She raised our family, three great boys, in my absence. You can’t find a better mom and I can’t even begin to think I could have a better partner.”

Despite retiring as the head coach, O’Halloran has Spartan swimming in his blood. There’s a good chance he won’t quit it cold turkey.

“I am going to miss it,” he said. “I hope to be back on the deck when I am needed. There are still some things to accomplish. I’ll hand over the reins to my assistants and they’ll continue the tradition.”

Swimming is not an easy sport to coach. There are long hours involved in training and meets and O’Halloran acknowledges the commitment of everyone involved in the sport he has loved so much for so long.

“I recognize the dedication of everybody, the swimmers, number one, and the coaches, number two,” O’Halloran said. “You don’t see your families a lot.

“I think there’s a high divorce rate for swimming coaches,” he said. “It’s not an easy sport to coach. [Being Coach of the Year] is a wonderful accomplishment, but it’s a shared accomplishment with my coaches. I’m sure they’ll keep the program moving forward.”

Kimerer, DunLany, Basista and Aulizia and their teammates couldn’t have picked a better note to send O’Halloran out on.

“The boys have been absolutely wonderful to work with,” O’Halloran said. “They have dedication, work ethic and academic success.

“The leadership the seniors have shown has been magical,” he said. “We’re a Division I school and we don’t have our own pool. That makes what they’ve accomplished that much greater.

“That they can find time to take care of the classroom stuff and still be successful in the pool is special. I had the privilege of coaching a lot them when they were 4, 5 and 6.

“I feel like their dad sometimes.”

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