LOCAL SPORTS: Mark Maxwell to head Blue Dolphins Swim Team

DALLAS -- As a coach for the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team, Mark Maxwell's experience spans the world.

DALLAS -- As a coach for the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team, Mark Maxwell's experience spans the world.

But Dallas is a place where he's very familiar -- it's where he got his start, as the coach of the Blue Dolphins Swim Team.

Mark Maxwell

After spending 13 years as both the Sherwood High and Sherwood YMCA swim coach, Maxwell recently accepted -- again -- the title as head coach for the Blue Dolphins, a position he held briefly more than 30 years ago, from 1978-80.

He replaces former coach Julie Morrow.

"The Dallas population has always supported their kids and their sports, and the results have shown," said Maxwell, who grew up in Oregon City and received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Western Oregon University -- then Oregon College of Education.

"I think we've got a good group of people -- both parents and kids -- to start with, and I think there's a huge possible growth potential in this town."

Expanding the Blue Dolphins Swim Team (BDST) in both numbers and success is a high priority for the longtime coach, who also coached for the Canby Swim Club, the Chehalem Swim Team, the Tualatin Hills Swim Club and, just last year, as a volunteer coach for the Forest Grove Swim Club.

"I'd like to see the program get to be 80 to 100 kids, I'd like to be able to have us consistently qualify kids to the state meet at various ages, the sectional meet, and I certainly would love to have kids qualify for the senior and junior nationals -- but that's going to take some time," Maxwell said.

He certainly has a history of success with which to do so.

While head coach at Sherwood High (1998-2011), Maxwell led the Bowmen to six -- four girls and two boys -- 3A-2A-1A state swimming titles.

He's served as either the head coach or as an assistant for the USA Paralympic Team since 1988, with head coaching stints in both the 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney, Australia) Paralympic Games.

Most recently, he served as the head coach for the U.S. Paralympic Team at the 2011 World Cup in Manchester, Great Britain.

Now, Maxwell hopes to bring his own tradition of winning to Dallas.

"Certainly, success fosters success," said Maxwell, who lives in Newberg with his wife, Marie. "I think if the kids begin to be more competitive and the high school team begins to be more competitive, I think people will look to be a part of that."

The Blue Dolphins Swim Team offers a competitive year-round club program for children ages 5-18. Practices are held at the Dallas Aquatic Center. For more information: www.bluedolphinswimteam.org.


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