The Trinity Blog


Getting to know the Head of our Swimming Program at Trinity...

On the back of two fantastic inter-house swimming carnivals and two wonderfully successful APS swimming carnivals - especially with our Senior Swimming Team placing 3rd in the APS championship, we thought it pertinent to get to know the man behind our Swimming Program at Trinity, Mr Dean Pugh.

What is your coaching philosophy?

I believe in the holistic development of an athlete - Mindset, Nutrition, Physical Conditioning and Recovery. All aspects have to be covered to ensure a successful outcome.

Tell us about your professional background.

I started coaching in 1995 as an assistant coach at Macgregor Swimming Club. I went on to become Head Coach and Macgregor became a Top 20 Age Group Club nationally out of a four lane, 25m pool. I left Macgregor in 2002 to take up the role of Director of Swimming at Brisbane Grammar School. Our program at Grammar achieved significant success - Top 3 at GPS, Top 5 Club Team in Queensland, Top 10 Club at National Age and Top 20 Club at Senior Nationals - and I was fortunate to develop several Australian Team members and Senior National Finalists.

In 2008 I started my own business, Aquatic Performance Company. I worked with John Paul College to set the structure for their program and get it started, whilst simultaneously starting conversations with the Logan Council about commencing a program out of their flagship aquatic facility at Underwood. In 2009 I launched the Aquatic Performance Company program and the Logan Vikings Swim Club. The program grew rapidly and the performances of the team improved rapidly. We quickly became a Top 10 Club in Queensland and started to place swimmers on Australian Youth Teams. I was also selected to coach on several national teams and event camps. By 2013 we had swimmers on Senior National Teams, and in 2014 Keryn McMaster won medals at both the Commonwealth Games and the Pan Pacific Games.

Tell us a little about your role as Director of Swimming at Brisbane Grammar School.

I was the first full-time Director of Swimming hired by Brisbane Grammar so it was a new role encompassing a club program and the GPS team. Hindsight is always an exact science so there is plenty I would change if I had to do it over again but the GPS environment is second to none in school sport. During my time at Brisbane Grammar we never finished outside of the Top 4 at the GPS championships (there are nine schools in GPS Association).

You have coached some great swimmers, including Keryn McMaster. Tell us about that and what you believe makes these swimmers great.

It is incredibly satisfying to see swimmers in your program go from dreaming of being on Australian teams to realising those dreams. Keryn McMaster, Kieren Carrigan, Mitch Larkin, and George O’Brien were all between the ages of 8 and 12 when they started training in my program. Keryn and Kieren at Macgregor Swimming Club. Mitch and George at Brisbane Grammar School.

All these swimmers had a great work ethic, but their levels of what I call the Four D’s – Dedication, Determination, Discipline, and (attention to) Detail is what I believe separates them from others.

Tell us a bit about the swimming program you are setting up here at Trinity and how it works in terms of getting the results you are aiming for.

The program here at Trinity is still evolving. We have set up our Learn-to-Swim side of the program on the Cotlew St. campus and the next step will be to expand the squad structure on the Ashmore Rd campus. This will allow us to create squads that are homogenous and offer a better environment for progressing through squads.

What do you love most about coaching?

I am driven by the performance side of the sport. I enjoy the challenge of designing a program to help motivated and goal oriented swimmers reach their absolute best.

What is the best advice you can give to swimmers or indeed anyone who loves playing and being involved in sport?

Compete every day. This is how we best rise to and overcome challenges and only through accepting and overcoming challenges can we become the best we can possibly be.

What is the best advice you have for parents?

Be supportive, but do not coach your child. Your role in the parent-coach-athlete triad is as a Support Player! You need to be your child's best fan. Leave the coaching and instruction to the coach. Provide encouragement, support, empathy, transportation, money, help with fund-raisers, etc., but... do not coach!

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