© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Roger Boucher was a decorated swimmer when he competed in the pool and now he hopes he can have the same success as the head coach of the Sharks Swim Club.
There will be a familiar face running the Prince Albert Sharks Swim Club this year after it was recently announced that Roger Boucher has been elevated to the head coaching position.
Boucher has spent more than a decade in an assistant coaching role with the club, but the latest move was necessary when Hazem Hussein chose not to renew his contract this summer after one year as the head coach of the Sharks.
“I want to train the kids hard and get them going fast; that’s what every coach wants,” says Boucher. “I want the kids to get what they need and the parents to get what they need.”
Boucher’s association with the swim club actually goes back a couple of decades as he started swimming when he was five years old. The club was known as the Sprites at that time, but it set the stage for an illustrious career that ultimately landed him in the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame this past spring.
Boucher developed into a premiere swimmer during his time with the Sprites/Sharks and as a result attended the University of Calgary and qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2000.
Since moving out of the pool and onto the deck in 2003, Boucher has worked under a number of different coaches and although he says he picked up some systems from others, he will have his own style in leading the club into the future.
“This year is going to be super exciting,” says Boucher. “It will be interesting to see how the kids react to me as a head coach.”
The Sharks is open to both recreational and competitive swimmers with age classes starting at the Little Nippers and going up through the ranks to Cadets, Blue Sharks, Hammerheads, Tiger Sharks and Great Whites,
Boucher will be relying on the assistance of several people including Pat Long, Karli Hufnagel, Austin Heinrich, Mark Jones and Brayden Hurl. In addition to time in the pool, Boucher will now be responsible for a lot of the planning, administration and other associated duties, which he says will result in some sacrifices on a personal level, namely his business as an entertainer.
Boucher says he will be relying on his wife to help with the business end of things, but he is ready to take on the challenges that face him in guiding the Sharks into the future.
“On deck there will be about nine practises a week (two hours each) and then when we go to swim meets that will require more time,” says Boucher. “There are going to be some sacrifices on the business end.”
The workload doesn’t seem to bother Boucher as he is hoping the number of swimmers continues to grow and he also hopes that someday he can be part of a committee that comes up with a plan for a new multi-purpose facility.
That, however, is all in the future. Right now he wants to develop the swimmers and get them reaching personal goals. Boucher says the competitive swimmers will attend as many as 11 meets this year including one out-of-province event and Prince Albert will once again host the provincial short-course “A” championships in March.
Registrations for the upcoming season will be accepted on Sept. 4 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Frank Dunn Pool. Boucher will be there to meet the swimmers and parents and answer any questions that might arise.
His career in the pool was spectacular. His role as a coach will undoubtedly follow a similar path.