In an unprecedented win, Coach Mandy Dean took the Sailfish Swim Club to their first Championship ever in the Grenfin Invitational held this past weekend at Good Hope Pool at St. Paul’s, St. George’s.
The swim coach from South Africa, who has been in Grenada a little over two years now, took the fledging swim team from having one OECS swimmer on the National Team in 2015 to eight swimmers in 2017.
More swimmers from the team are expected to represent the Grenada National team at the OECS 28th Swim Championships in Antigua from November 9-11.
Coach Mandy is known for her no-nonsense work attitude, great coaching skills and her love for the children.
A champion athlete herself, she was ranked in the Top Ten Triathletes in the world in 1989 and 1990. She has been coaching swim teams since 1996 and brings years of experience to Grenada.
VP of the Sailfish Swim Club, Laura Fletcher, and parent of three National Swimmers referred to Mandy as “an amazing coach” having been a top athlete herself.
Mandy has managed to capture the children’s attention and desire through her technical ability and coaching style.
The Sailfish Swim Club was started in 2012 by Deb Eastwood, Director of Grenada Youth Adventurers (GYA) to give the children from her free learn-to-swim programs a chance to move up, compete and use their skills.
The club is a grassroots swim team with many sponsored swimmers.
Eastwood had never swum competitively and did her best to coach the children but felt that Mandy was an “answer to prayer” when she came to Grenada in mid-2016.
“I am so pleased to see the results from all Mandy’s hard work and how much she has embraced the team. They truly love her, and she has motivated them to new heights”, she said.
Eastwood recalls reading her CV and seeing how she single-handedly taught 500 children to swim in a primary school in South Africa and knew it was going to be a good fit.
Her previous employer wrote: “She (Mandy) has a commendable patience with children and a real servant heart. No task is ever too large or small. She is self-motivated and a true professional.”
Senior swimmer on the team, Nando Gabriel paid tribute to Coach Mandy as the meet concluded on Sunday.
“I want to say a big thanks to Coach Mandy for her magnificent coaching, patience and dedication to the team. I have become a whole lot faster and hit times that I had never hit before in my life”, she said.