Ted Swinford brings a hefty amount of rowing experience to Halifax Rowing.
Halifax Rowing Association has hired former Olympic rower and National Rowing Hall of Famer Ted Swinford as its new head coach for the masters and juniors programs.
Swinford replaces Victoria Brooks (formerly Ciccone), who will be moving to Italy with her husband who’s in the military. Brooks coached both programs for three years, leading several teams to gold medals, including a recent boys state championship.
“Rowing’s been such a big part of my life since I started high school, and now it’s not going to be,” Brooks said. “I pretty much had the best first coaching experience you could have. I’m going to miss how close the team is, and I’m going to miss how easy it was to push the kids and they respond to me pushing them.”
Brooks considers HRA “lucky” because the program was able to get Swinford, saying, “He’s a lot different from me but in a good way. He’s smart, and I really like the way he talks to the kids when we’re coaching them on the water. I would’ve loved it if he was my coach.”
Swinford began rowing in high school after he realized he was a mediocre baseball player and slow cross country runner. Standing over 6’5, his 6’8 friend told him, “Rowing’s for tall guys like us,” to which Swinford decided to give a try and fell
"I would’ve loved it if he was my coach."
VICTORIA BROOKS, on HRA's new coach, Ted Swinford
While enjoying a successful competitive career, Swinford also coached. He’s gone on to coach Syracuse University, Jacksonville University, the US National Team, Sarasota Scullers and Texas Rowing Center to name a few.
“Coaching keeps me in the sport I’ve been in for so long,” Swinford said.
Swinford looks to make in immediate impact by increasing membership and expanding the HRA program. He’s also looking to improve his current rowers, though he says they were well-coached by Brooks in the last three years.
“Some of the things I can do are attend to a few details and polish up a few techniques that will gain us seconds,” he said.
For those interested in taking up the sport, Swinford believes rowing affords one the ability to get in and stay in shape with low-impact exercising. He also added, “I can’t run as well as I used to, but I can row as hard as I want to. It’s something you can do your whole life. You don’t have to race. You can go out there and just be one with nature.”