TRAVERSE CITY — Kelly Smith will take over as the new girls high school swim coach in Traverse City.
The hire was officially announced Wednesday.
Traverse City has a co-op team, featuring swimmers from West, Central and St. Francis.
Smith, 28, swam collegiately at Alma College, where she was a team captain. She coached girls and boys at Sturgis for three years — as an assistant and then as the boys head coach in her last season.
Smith moved to Traverse City in January with her husband, Patrick.
“I was hoping to get involved in swimming here,” she said. “When the job opened up, I jumped on it. I’m really excited about it. It was like perfect timing.”
Patti Tibaldi, West athletic director, said three candidates were interviewed.
Tibaldi said Smith’s work at the high school level at Sturgis was a big plus, as was her drive and ambition.
“She’s very enthusiastic, really into it,” Tibaldi said. “She has a presence. She’s very dynamic. I suspect she’s a good teacher in the classroom as well. You can tell, she’s got it. She’ll be a great role model.”
Smith is a biology-chemistry teacher. She’s still looking for a full-time job in education, but in the meantime she’s excited about this new challenge.
“I really like inspiring swimmers, students, to be the best they can be,” she said. “One of the best things about athletics is that you can push yourself to do something that you didn’t think was possible. That’s what I love about the job.”
Smith said she has met the team captains. She expects to meet with the entire team soon.
“We have good numbers in the program,” Tibaldi said, “and I think she’ll build it.”