Acadia University announces hiring of MacDonald to lead Acadia Swimming program

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Apr 01, 2015

Source: Eric Cederberg, Acadia Manager, Events & Communications

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia University and the Department of Athletics announced today, March 31, 2015, the hiring of Halifax’s Gary MacDonald as the Acadia swim program’s new head coach. MacDonald will replace interim head coach David Fry.

MacDonald served as an assistant coach from 2004 to 2012 with Fry at Dalhousie University prior to Fry`s retirement in 2012. He continued to serve as an assistant under current head coach Lance Cansdale.

Originally from Mission, B.C., MacDonald brings a wealth of experience in the pool as a swimmer and out of the pool as a coach.

In the pool, MacDonald captured silver in the 4×100m medley relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and was a Canadian record-holder in the 50m free as well. He won two silver medals in relay events at the 1975 Pan-American Games and was also a medalist (bronze and gold) at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alta.

MacDonald was named head coach of the York University swim team for one season in 1979 that included a 1980 third place finish at the CIAU (CIS) National championships. In 1980, MacDonald moved to an assistant coaching position with the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club in Vancouver, B.C. until 1983. Moving to the east coast, MacDonald led the Halifax Trojan Aquatic Club for 21 years before leaving to Dalhousie in 2004 for 11 successful years with the Tigers.

Over his coaching career, MacDonald has pulled together an impressive long list of accomplishments, but he is most proud of training Carwai Seto (Halifax Trojans) who completed in the 1988 Korean Olympic Games and Iona Allen who captured gold at the 1992 National Championships in the 400m Individual Medley.

MacDonald looks to lead an up and coming program with a lot of history behind it. “I’m excited to be leading the Acadia swim program as head coach. My goal is to achieve excellence by coaching each athlete to their fullest potential within the positive and inspirational environment that is Acadia University,” he said. “I look forward to Acadia’s swim team representing a competitive and respected force in the Atlantic and national rankings.”

Both the Axemen and Axewomen finished second overall at the AUS championship and sent eight swimmers to the CIS Championship this past season. Director of Athletics Kevin Dickie views MacDonald’s addition as a means to continue the program’s success.

“We’re very excited to have a coach of Gary’s calibre take over our Acadia Swimming Program. His pedigree is outstanding as both an Olympic medal athlete and, shortly after, a career coach. Through discussions over the past number of weeks, I know he is a perfect fit moving forward,” Dickie said. He added, “Acadia is one of a very small group of CIS swimming schools that has won a national championship, so there’s history here. In recent times, the foundation has been reset, we had our best season in 34 years in 2014-15, and we’re excited that Gary is walking into a very positive environment and will help it advance.”

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