by Andrew Garda

After 12 years at poolside, Montclair Kimberley Academy head swim coach Pat Collins will be leaving the program, according to school officials.

Collins is leaving to take a job heading up the Aquatics programs at Summit YMCA, according to MKA Athletic Director Todd Smith.

Collins arrived at MKA in 2007 with a ton of accolades from his time as senior co-captain for the Marist College swim team. He was a six-time MAAX Champion in both individual and relay events, as well as a champion in the 100-yard freestyle at the 2007 ECAC Swimming and Diving Championships. Collins was also Marist’s record holder in the 50-yard freestyle and 200 medley relay. 

During his time at Marist, Collins had received the Men’s Swimming Coach's Award, Men's Swimming MVP, and was nominated for the Marist College Athletics Male Sportsperson of the Year award in 2007.

“MKA Swimming [has been] my home and family for 12 years,” Collins said in a released statement. “To my swimmers and alumni, the memories of this past season and the many seasons before are something that I will truly cherish forever. You have made me laugh, cry, jump for joy, and occasionally get angry, and that all comes with the job. The experience that I’ve gained, and the growth [I’ve had] as a coach is because of all of you. I could not have done it without you. Thank you for making me a better coach, a better father, and a better person.”

For the Cougars, it will be hard to see Collins go, but as Smith expressed in a statement, they appreciate all he has done and wish him good luck.

“We wish Pat Collins [MKA Head Varsity Swimming Coach for 12 years] the very best, as he has accepted a job to take over the Aquatics program at the Summit YMCA,” he wrote. “Pat has been a great addition to the MKA coaching staff and the MKA community the past 12 years and MKA's pool has been Pat’s home away from home since he swam for Cougar Aquatics as a little kid, when he first fell in love with the sport. Thanks Pat…you’re a class act and have been a great colleague and friend to all.”

The athletic department will now look for someone to step in and replace Collins for the upcoming winter swim season. As of press time, the school had not announced any interviews or additions to the staff.

Whoever they choose, that person will have some sizable flip-flops to fill.