Smith tabbed for swimming jobJamestown High School swimming and diving coach Ben Smith just wrapped up his first year in charge of the Blue Jays program, but his responsibilities aren’t stopping there.
Jamestown High School swimming and diving coach Ben Smith just wrapped up his first year in charge of the Blue Jays program, but his responsibilities aren’t stopping there.
Less than a year after accepting the top job with the Blue Jays, Smith was named the new North Dakota Coaches Representative for swimming, as voted on by the 15 club coaches statewide. Smith is the first person from Jamestown to ever be voted into this position.
“It’s really neat,” said Smith. “It’s great that people all over the state are recognizing Jamestown as a swimming community.”
His duties include coaching youth national and zone teams, while also being a designated representative at national conventions.
“We knew the position was going to be open, and as coaches we discussed who was going to be best fit for it,” said Smith, who was named the summer club swimming Coach of the Year. “I’m really excited.”
Last season, Smith served as an assistant on the Central Zone team under Talia Buttery, who coaches at Fargo North, but this year he will be the head coach. Zone teams are made up of some of the best youth swimmers from around the country gathering to compete at one large meet.
“We usually take anywhere between 20 and 30,” said Smith. “The United States is broken up into four zones and we’re in the central zone. The team is made up of kids from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, Nebraska and a few other places.”
Last year, North Dakota had two individual champions in Loren Sether from Bismarck and West Fargo’s Andie Peterson.
“That was pretty exciting for the state of North Dakota,” said Smith, who was recently named the West Region’s Co-Coach of the Year during the boys’ season.
Last year was also big for Jamestown with Cody Lange and Annie Hart becoming the first Blue Jays to qualify Central Zone team.
“I think it’s really exciting for Jamestown,” said Smith. “Other people in the state are starting to see Jamestown as an up-and-coming swimming community, which is a good thing. It’s great for the kids.”
Smith even credited his newly-acquired position to the success of recent Jamestown swimmers and divers, such as Alex Lind, Erin Hart, Brooke Lukach, Landon Ostlie, Willy Marler, Chasen Miller and more.
“I attribute all of my success to their success,” said Smith. “I can only do so much. They’re the ones that take things to heart and they’re the ones that get everybody excited for swimming.”
Smith acknowledged that he will be taking a big step and will be carrying out a big responsibility, but he believes this last year as the Blue Jays’ coach has helped prepare him to take on the position.
“Every first year there’s a learning curve and I don’t think this is going to be anything different,” said Smith. “Hopefully it will give me more experience that I can bring back to Jamestown and that it gives Jamestown a little bit more recognition.
“I’m excited to represent North Dakota and represent Jamestown, at least through the Central Zone. It will be good to get that insight and to attend some of those (national) conferences.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/DGriswoldSun