Saint Dominic Academy new swim coach William McCorkle is making a splash with his team at the YWCA in Lewiston Friday afternoon. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
LEWISTON — William McCorkle always had a passion for swimming, but never saw himself coaching the sport he loved.
Things changed for the 2012 Mt. Ararat High School graduate when he had to “teach” a sport in his senior year at the University of Maine at Machias.
He decided to teach the sport in which he participated at Mt. Ararat, and he enjoyed it so much he chose to pursue a coaching career after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Recreation and Tourism Management in 2016.
Fast forward one year, and McCorkle is now starting his first season as the St. Dominic Academy swim coach.
“I had no intentions of being a swim coach,” McCorkle said. “I had to for a class where I had to teach an activity to a kids for a semester. The aquatics director at the Y got in contact with me and needed an assistant. I started coaching and loved it. By March of my senior year, I was applying for jobs as a swim coach.”
As a recreation major, the reason he fell into coaching was that he likes working with kids and helping them stay active.
After his first dip into the coaching pool, he continued in Machias, where he was an assistant coach for the Machias Valley Swim Club, the school’s club team. McCorkle initially swam for Machias, but the swim team was discontinued after his freshman season.
After graduating, he took a job at the YWCA in Lewiston, where he’s currently the head swim coach of the Tiger Sharks program, which has swimmers from the ages of 5 to 18. In addition, he began coaching at his alma mater.
The difference between the two was striking: He learned the difference between coaching younger kids who are first starting out as swimmers and teaching more technical swimmers.
“Obviously, starting out coaching with younger kids is a lot different than high school,” McCorkle said. “You have to expand what you are teaching the younger kids to bring it at a little more advanced level with high school kids.”
One factor that led him to going back to Mt. Ararat was Tracy Doviak, one of his coaches who was still coaching the Eagles.
“I couldn’t pick a better place to go back,” McCorkle said. “One of my coaches was still there and she was a big role model for me when I was swimming for that team. Learning from her again, five years later, was a wonderful experience. I feel I learned a lot more going back to the school that I swam at rather than another school.”
As a swimmer at Mt. Ararat, he swam the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard medley.
In February of this year, as the high school season was winding down, McCorkle got a call from St. Dom’,s where he became the head coach of the middle school team. This season, he was elevated to the high school level.
There will be some familiarity with the kids, since three competed on the middle school team — Ethan Rombalski, Gage Smith and Madison Tyus.
They will be joined by four others: Alex Cote, Connor Emmons, Andy Dolci and Molly Myrick. McCorkle knows with a small team, the main goal isn’t about team success, but rather working with each individual.
“My goal for this team is to go to each meet and work as hard as they can,” McCorkle said. “Show the other teams who we are. We are a small team, but work just as hard as the big teams. My goals for these kids are to have their personal bests, their goals made and knock time from their first meet to their last meet of the season.”
Saint Dominic Academy swim coach William McCorkle. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)