South Fayette swim club welcomes accomplished new coach
South Fayette Aqua Club coach Todd Clark has been on the job only a few weeks and already has made an impact.
Mark Koutavas, the club’s assistant director said, there were close to 100 members after tryouts, compared with 80 last year.
Koutavas said Clark, 54, a North Allegheny graduate who previously coached at Fox Chapel and Peters Township, fell into the club’s lap after stepping down following a successful stint in northeast Ohio.
Clark led the Gates Mills Hawken girls team to its 21st consecutive Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II title last season. He guided the Hawken-owned Lake Erie Silver Dolphins to a silver medal in the 2019 USA Swimming Club Excellence program as one of the top 100 clubs in the nation for producing elite 18-and-under athletes.
Koutavas said his club is excited to gain Clark.
“We feel very fortunate to have someone of his caliber and experience be part of our swim family and look forward to a long successful future with him at the helm,” Koutavas said.
Clark said he was attracted by the enthusiasm of the community to have a great swim team.
“In my first week in the program, I have found the kids to be very excited for the future and the parents eager as well,” Clark said. “The facility at South Fayette High School is very good.
“Running a pool 12 months a year takes a great deal of work, and the district has proven their interest in swimming for years. I have been impressed by the efforts of the board of directors to research and consider ways to improve the swimmer’s experience while being part of a team.”
Clark, who lives in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, said he would like to see the program expand.
“We held our tryouts and had a record number of young swimmers express an interest in the club,” Clark said. “My philosophy for the swimmers is simple: have fun, swim fast.
“The parental leadership of the club and the coaching staff is focused on providing the swimmers the opportunity to have a great time while pursuing the goal of becoming a better swimmer.”
Clark earned six swimming and diving All-American awards at Kenyon College in the 1980s. He served as an assistant with the Lords before moving to Case Western Reserve, where he spent 10-plus seasons as head coach.
Later, he coached the club and high school teams at Fox Chapel and Peters Township for 12 years.
Clark, a decorated U.S. Masters swimmer, said he is excited to be back in Western Pennsylvania.
“The South Fayette community has welcomed me,” Clark said, “and I already feel at home there.”
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.