A longtime Canby swim coach has received the prestigious Excellence in Coaching award from Oregon Swimming Inc.
The statewide swimming association typically hands out awards for excellence in athletics and coaching at the end of each year, which are voted on by the Oregon Coaches Committee.
Canby Swim Center Aquatic Program Manager Eric Laitinen said Canby Swim Club coach Nathan Templeman was this year’s selection for Excellence in Coaching.
“Nathan Templeman has been in aquatics for 30 years,” Laitinen said. “He has always strived for excellence and professionalism in swimming. His swimmers have swum on every level and many have continued on to swim at the collegiate level.”
Under Templeman’s guidance, the Canby Gators organization continues to move up in recognition among other clubs and programs, Laitinen added.
“Everyone knows this past year has been difficult for everyone,” Laitinen said. “Nathan has continued to look for places for his swimmers to continue to train as his home pool closed due to Covid regulations. He has been able to keep many of his swimmers training while continuing to follow all state, local and USA swimming regulations.”
Indeed, the beloved city pool closed in March when the pandemic first hit Oregon and has remained so for most of the past year. It reopened briefly in September under strict guidelines before closing again late last year following a new surge in coronavirus cases statewide.
“Nathan truly gives all of himself provide great coaching to his swimmers,” Laitinen said.
In a Facebook post, Templeman remembered the night he was “ambushed” after practice by Laitinen and Gators team president Kristin Mull.
“I want to be absolutely clear,” the coach said. “This award is really for all Gators; swimmers, coaches and families, past and present, without whom I’m just a grumpy old guy with twitchy stopwatch fingers.”
Templeman said the Gators team and his personal coaching philosophy are based on several core values: confidence, fun, goal setting, grit, respect and teamwork.
“We actively promote them all, but those who know me will attest that I’m partial to grit,” he said. “Its relentless pursuit has shaped every generation of athletes that I have had to pleasure to coach.”
“Clearly, few times have offered more opportunities to hone this particular value, and it is strangely appropriate that I received this award in the rain on the deck of a makeshift pool surrounded by kids fighting to get better.”