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Derby Coach of the Month Sam Pinkerton – Presented by Advanced Physical Therapy

By Blake Chadwick  

Derby Coach of the Month is diving coach Sam Pinkerton. In just his first full season as a girls dive coach he was able to take three divers to state. Now in his first season as the boys dive coach, he continued the winning ways that longtime dive coach Ron Meisch kept up for so many years. 

“He has been doing a terrific job recruiting as we see numbers on the dive program that are above anything we had before. Coach Pinkerton is quickly making a name for himself as one of the premier dive coaches in the state,” coach Jimmy Adams said. 

VYPE: Did you ever expect to be back at your old high school as the dive coach?

Pinkerton: Not specifically. Coaching swim and dive in some capacity is something that I have wanted to do since I graduated. But having the opportunity to do it for the same high school that I swam for and under the same head coach that I swam for has been very special. I have such a strong connection to this program that I do not know I would be able to have elsewhere. 

VYPE: Was there any pressure to keep up the standard that Coach Meisch set?

Pinkerton: Absolutely. Coach Meisch left an unbelievable legacy on this program. Alongside developing extremely successful divers; Coach Meisch always made it a priority to develop successful young men and women as well. This is something that I will not let this program lose sight of in order to honor his legacy. Successful divers yes, but also upstanding young men and women. 

VYPE: What has your approach been to coaching the divers?

Pinkerton: Every individual is different, and to some degree, I do have to learn how to approach each individual athlete to best suit their needs. But as a whole, my focus is creating a very positive progress-oriented environment. I believe that this type of environment is very essential to having a successful dive program. These kids are learning some really scary stuff; when your coach is asking you to throw a double backflip for the first time it can be quite intimidating. So, keeping practice positive, exciting, and fun is extremely important. 

VYPE: How long did you participate in swim and dive?

Pinkerton: I was a swimmer for three years, and a diver for two years. 

VYPE: How long have you coached?

Pinkerton: I have been coaching dive for just under a year. But I have been involved in coaching/teaching swimming in some capacity for eight years.

VYPE: With the dive numbers reaching heights they never have before, according to coach Adams, how have you made that happen in such a short time?

Pinkerton: I have a very unique position at the high school. As one of the floating subs, I am in a different classroom every day, so sometimes it feels like I have seen half of the kids at DHS in a single week. This unique position has enabled me to develop relationships with a lot of different kids, which then allows me to recruit these kids to come out for the team. Seeing them almost every day, I am available to answer questions they may have and help ease any doubts they may have about their ability to learn diving. It is worth pointing out that in this area, there are no real opportunities to learn to dive until high school, so nobody has to start behind anybody else. 

VYPE: Who are your top divers?

Pinkerton: Last season for their girls, Ana Self, Alexis Stanton and Lexi Silva all qualified for state as first-year divers, which is a huge accomplishment. Then for the boys, Aidan Kienzle, Mykal Berry and Blayne Lock all accomplished the same feat as first-year divers as well. But all athletes who dive for Derby I am very proud of. Both the men’s and women’s teams are very young. With only a season of experience on both sides for all divers: everyone has been working hard every day at practice and I am very proud of where programs currently stand. 

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