Woods resigns after nine years of success

By on June 7, 2017
Matt Woods (left) gives a high five to his swimmers after clinching the Section Two title last season. Woods recently stepped down after a successful run as head swimming coach at Cocalico

Matt Woods (left) gives a high five to his swimmers after clinching the Section Two title last season. Woods recently stepped down after a successful run as head swimming coach at Cocalico

When Matt Woods graduated from Cocalico High School in 2003, he played football, basketball and volleyball. Naturally, he was hired five years later to be a head coach……of the swim team.

Actually, 2008 was not his first time in the deep end. Woods swam summers for the East Co-calico swim team. He also competed collegiately for Lebanon Valley College from 2003-07.When the Lancaster-Lebanon League Meet was over in February, Woods told the boys and girls that were his charges for the last nine years that he was retiring as their coach, at least for now.

“I decided very early this past swimming season,” stated Woods. “My wife and I are expecting our first child this sum-mer. I wasn’t confident that between working outside the school district and the new addition to the family, I would be able to continue to put the necessary time in that the team deserves.”

If you look up the word “success” in the dictionary, you may see a copy of Matt Woods’ resume. Five-straight girls’ section titles, two boys’ section titles (the last two), 15 state meet qualifiers (8 girls, 7 boys) and 14 athletes that have or will compete at the college level. Two teams (2015 girls, 2017 boys) captured silver at the District Three meets.

“The first girls section championship team was very special in 2011-12,” explained Woods. “We beat Ephrata to clinch the championship. It was the first section championship for Co-calico and my first team championship as a coach. Cocalico has always had great individual swimmers, but that team established a winning team culture.”

Although the teams were in-credibly supportive (his words), they will also be the part that he misses the most.

“Everything from the deliriously goofy things they would say or do because of our late night practices,” added Woods. “Watching them respond when I would challenge them at practice and everything in-between. Swimmers need strong bonds with teammates and coaches to get through the season. I’ll miss those bonds the most.”

During his career at Cocalico, Woods has had the opportunity to introduce those graduating seniors on National Signing Day.

“A ton of fun to be able to talk about their accomplishments and be part of that special day,” he said.

There were two girls in particular that were 24-0 during Section Two meets. Samantha Marino (now swimming at University of Delaware) and Sidney Evans (West Point) won back-to-back District Three gold medals in 2015.“They were a blast to coach,” said Woods. “Extremely hard working. Would do anything for the team to succeed. They wanted their teammates to experience success. I enjoyed every minute of their four years.”

After looking at the past nine years, Woods was asked to take a peek to the future. First for the Cocalico swim teams.

“A pool at the high school would do wonders. It’s not the most convenient sport at the school with the late practice times and practices outside the building (Ephrata Rec Center).”And second, the crystal ball for Matt Woods.

“Hopefully still in Cocalico School District, hopefully coaching in some capacity and hopefully I’ll be enrolling an-other future Cocalico student-athlete in Kindergarten.”

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