Sharks welcome fall season with new head coach

The Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks welcome the fall season with new head coach Kris Bell.

Comox Valley Sharks new coach Kris Bell

The Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks have been a local staple of swimming athletic development since 1975 when a group of parents founded the club. Focusing on a fun environment for all abilities where the foundations of competitive swimming are taught has helped the club blossom from its humble beginnings into a top ranking provincial club. The Sharks club has seen many swimmers compete on the national stage, most recently taking the country by storm at the 2013 Canadian Age Group Nationals where Juliana Bartemucci, Brooke Lamoureux, Ben Neufeld and Jordyn Ryan made waves by topping the podium with seven medals.

This season marks the 38th year the Sharks will open lanes to new and returning swimmers interested in starting out in the sport or keen to build on their skills and challenge themselves on the next level. Heading the program and new to the club for the 2013/14 season is Kris Bell, who brings a wealth of energy, enthusiasm, depth of experience and the support of his wife Kathleen and young family.

Bell was born and raised in Toronto where he began his swimming career with the Parks and Recreation lessons program before out-growing the lessons and joining the competitive swimming program with the York Swim Club at the age of six.

Later, when his family moved to Timmins, Ont. for his final years of high school, he branched out from his years as a competitive swimmer and began his coaching career. Bell started coaching in the early-90s with the Timmins Swim Club where he was able to teach and focus on the development of the youngest swimmers in the club. It was during that time he founded the masters club in Timmins. The club quickly grew to capacity and became an organization that Bell takes great satisfaction in having formed.

After high school, he returned to Toronto where he began coaching with the York Swim Club. During the winter of 2001 Bell met Kathleen. Recognizing his gift for coaching, Kathleen encouraged Kris to apply for a position within the Etobicoke Swim Club. In his first season, Bell worked with first-year swimmers and volunteered his time with the head coach. He quickly moved to the junior national/head age group coaching position. During that time, Bell worked with some of Canada’s best young athletes. His involvement and coaching with Olympians Brittany and Heather MacLean and the Abdel-Khalik brothers have made for an accomplished coaching career.

In 2008, after coaching swimmers to the 2008 Olympic trials, Bell took a break to help raise two young children. Last summer, after watching the MacLean sisters make the Canadian Olympic team, he was drawn back into the sport.

Fall registration for youth programs is Friday, and Sept. 4 and 5 at the Sports Centre from 5-7 p.m.

For more information visit www.sharks.bc.ca or call registrar Loretta at (250) 339-7295.

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