Over the last few years, Maggie Rocheleau, as part of Kodiak’s swimming community, watched how high school coach John Lindquist operated and ran a program — a successful program.
The years of taking notes — mental and physical — will now be put to use.
Rocheleau was named as Kodiak High School’s new head swimming coach. She replaces Lindquist, who, after 17 years as coach, retired at the end of the 2017 season.
“It is a huge opportunity. I am really excited,” Rocheleau said. “It is a privilege to take over a program that has done exceptionally well for a really long period of time.”
Under Lindquist, Kodiak morphed into a state swimming powerhouse, winning three state team titles — two with the girls (2012 and 2013) and one with the boys (2016) — and 37 individual state titles.
Region III team championships were also the norm for Lindquist’s squads, as he collected 22 of them during his KHS career that started in 2001.
Like any person taking over for a legendary coach, Rocheleau admitted that she is nervous about being Lindquist’s successor.
Rocheleau also replaced Lindquist as head coach of the Kodiak Kingfishers last season.
“I’m creating my own trail,” she said. “I’m not John and I will never be him, but we have a great foundation, which lends itself to really giving a good base to work from and continue to grow.”
Rocheleau, a 1994 graduate of Sitka High School, joined Lindquist’s staff last season as an assistant coach. She worked with the younger up-and-coming swimmers.
Rocheleau dove into her coaching career in 2013 with the Kodiak Kingfishers, a youth club team. Her kids were swimming and she wanted to get involved. She started with the younger swimmers and worked her way up to the 14-and-under group.
“I was at a place in my life where I had extra time and I missed being involved with youth sports,” she said. “I loved my high school swimming years, so it was a natural evolution to not being involved to being involved.”
This will be the first time she will be dealing with older swimmers, but working with Lindquist last year has prepared her for this season. She said the most important thing she picked up from Lindquist was dryland workouts and training cycles.
“I have a ton to learn, but I am feeling a lot more confident about coming in, knowing that I have the support of the swimmers, the parents and the school,” she said.
Rocheleau has been working with the swimmers this summer, testing different workouts and approaches that will help her when the season officially starts on Aug. 1.
She inherits a team that swept the team Region III titles, while the girls placed second at the state championships and the boys third.
“I would love to see our swimmers improve,” Rocheleau said. “I would like to feel at the end of the year that I have helped them achieve their goals.”
Rocheleau swam two years at Sitka High School, qualifying for the state championships as a freshman and sophomore. As an upperclassmen, she switched her focus to basketball. In the pool, she competed in the breaststroke and backstroke.
Rocheleau said the level of expectation for the program will remain high. Dave Horne will remain the diving coach, while newcomer Sara Walker will be the swimming assistant.
“I’m going to get these kids to try to rise to that next level. There is no doubt that they will know what hard work is,” she said.
Rocheleau and her family moved to Kodiak in 1998 when her husband was awarded an internship with a construction company. The two have four children.
“This has been a great place to live and raise kids,” she said. “You really won’t find a more supportive community.”