COACH MARY DELK
My first exposure to Surfside swim team was when my son Tanner joined as a swimmer. I swam collegiately and encouraged swimming for all my children, they all were on a swim team for a short amount of time and yet they found many other sports to keep themselves busy. I began coaching in the South Bay for SOBA when my youngest children swam with SOBA. A couple of years later I was recruited by John Carroll to help start a new competitive swim team called Beach Cities with a new pool at RUHS. As my children’s activities pulled me away from coaching I enjoyed watching my daughter play water polo for Trojan and MCHS. Stopping and talking to my friend Coach Beth on a walk street she mentioned that Surfside might need a substitute and I agreed. Coach John called and I substituted in the C group at RUHS for about a year and I was eventually hired as permanent. I am currently assigned to work with the C group Monday and Fridays at MCHS.
I have coached other sports including basketball, softball, and volleyball for schools where I was teaching. I enjoyed the afternoon exercise after a long day in the classroom as I thrive on activity and team sports. Including fitness in my daily life was a must as I took many health-related fitness classes in college. I unintentionally met the requirements to teach physical education as I was awarded an “Authorization in Phys.Ed.” when my transcripts were reviewed by the California State Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
My swimming career started when I was 7 years old and was told I was a “natural” though I had no idea what that meant. After my first few meet s my swim coaches called me Mary “Spitz” and I didn't really know what that meant either. I just really loved to swim and be in the water. Growing up in Mi Wuk Village in the Sierra Nevada Mountains we only had a few months to be in the water, but I was in every chance I could get. Swimming only seasonally, my first club team was called the Tuolumne County Sailfish, both my parents volunteered, organizing swim meets and club events.
During the summer months of college, I worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor for Modesto Parks and Recreation. I only started to swim collegiately my last two years of college when I transferred to a school that had a swim team. Concordia Teachers College in Seward NE, now a University that no longer has a swim team and stopped after my team went to Arkadelphia Arkansas for the NAIA National Championships. Our IM relay team swam in the top 10 and my 200 breaststroke was in the top? - too long ago to remember - I never really took competitive swimming seriously and my coaches knew - I just really liked to be in the water and play. I took every chance I could get to be in the water, in those summer months I also played with Modesto Junior College water polo coed teams.
I enjoy the Surfside Swim Team very much. The atmosphere to coach in is very positive and inclusive. Coaching among nationally ranked swimmers can be intimidating though they are genuine, devoted to their swimmers and fun to be around. Surfside coaches give swimmers the opportunity to thrive as swimmers and just enjoy the sport. I see swimmers come to practice and want to be there because it is a welcoming environment. My favorite Surfside memory is when Coach John had an event on a Holiday and old and very old swimmers from the team were swimming and working their butts off altogether. Then family’s came to pick them up and it was like a huge happy family.
My teaching career began with me hesitating to follow in my mother's footsteps as an educator. But because I found much success; instructing, compassionate to help children learn, and I find it easy to create a safe, comfortable environment to enlighten others; I am determined to "bloom wherever I am planted."
After 30+ years of teaching, I continue to strive to improve myself daily and persevere through trials that come my way. I have found my home and my community in Hermosa Beach. I am thankful, grateful, blessed, and I ALWAYS appreciate a beautiful sunset!