The swimmers at Tech, Classical, and English began their seasons this week practicing in the Peter A. Sawin Natatorium.
The city dedicated the Tech swimming pool Sunday in memory of Sawin, a former Lynn schoolteacher and high school swimming coach who in 1986 was inducted in to the Eastern Massachusetts Swim Coaches Hall of Fame.
Mr. Sawin’s daughter, Kim Sawin Staples, a teacher at the Callahan School, and son, Scott Sawin, took part in the ceremony that concluded with the unveiling of a plaque that will be placed at the school fieldhouse.
Charlie Rowe, swim coach at Lynn Tech, served as master of ceremonies for the program.
“I was fortunate enough to call him Coach,” said Rowe. “I first met him in 1970 when I was a sophomore swimmer at Lynn Classical and lucky enough to grow up and know him my whole life. He immersed himself in swimming and in everything that he did – his teaching, his coaching, his volunteer work. He always went the extra distance to help those around him. He was a great coach. He was a unique man and definitely my mentor.”
City Council President Timothy Phelan, whose family has been involved in the high school swimming scene for many years, praised Sawin’s contributions to the city and noted the personal impact he had on the Phelan family as a coach.
“It’s an honor to be here on behalf of the city of Lynn, the City Council, and especially my family,” said Phelan. “Our family was a big swim family when we were growing up. Peter Sawin coached all eight of my brothers and sisters. I was very fortunate to watch my older brothers excel when they swam at Lynn English. My brother Mike went on to become the captain of the Villanova swim team and it was solely because of the hard work that Peter pushed upon my him and the values [that he instilled in him], saying that what you get out of something is what you put into something.”
Classical head swim coach Denise Silva, Tech head swim coach Brad Tilley, and former English coach Marianne Conlon Duncan also spoke of the positive influence that Mr. Sawin had on their swimming and coaching careers.
“Pete started the Lynn High School Swim Boosters Association where parents from each school worked together to support all the student-athletes,” said Silva. “My mom, the late Mrs. “B” as she was called had the pleasure of running this board for a few years. My mother loved every minute she shared with this program and they enjoyed her.”
Silva said Mr. Sawin’s legacy lives on in the Lynn swimming program.
“As I begin my 23rd season, I am happy to say that Pete’s love of swimming lives on and the enthusiastic spirit is still shared by today’s swimmers and coaches,” said Silva.
Tilley coached for many years with Mr. Sawin.
“Peter Sawin was what I call, ‘‘the entertaining educator,’’ said Tilley. “No matter what he did, he had fun doing what he did. And it wasn’t just because he did it to have fun. He did it to educate the kids.”
Tilley said it was Mr. Sawin who started the Lynn City Meet, an annual competition matching Tech, Classical, and English. “Steve Krause, sports editor at the Item, said it’s one of the greatest sporting events of the year and he’s seen them all,” Tilley told the gathering.
Duncan, whose family [Conlon] excelled in the English swimming program, spoke of Mr. Sawin’s legendary status in the Lynn swimming community.
“It’s nice to see so many people turn out for coach Sawin, who truly is a Lynn legend, especially in the area of Lynn high school swimming,” said Duncan. “Coach Sawin was a true example of a high school coach. It didn’t matter if you swam the 500 freestyle in five minutes or it took you 15 minutes to finish. He still made you feel important.
“Today is a special day for coach Sawin’s family, friends, coaches, and former swimmers as it shows what a lasting legacy he had on the high school program and that will remain forever.”
Kim Sawin Staples accepted the honor of behalf of the Sawin family, thanking the many people who helped make the dedication possible.
“On behalf of myself and my brother, Scott, we wish to thank all of you for joining us on such a momentous occasion,” said Staples. “It’s not often in one’s life that such an honor is bestowed. This dedication in our dad’s memory is truly a testament to his legacy.”