Heidary Prioritizes Character with Swimmers

Brooke Presten, Staff Writer

Swim coach Ronnie Heidary has won 12 NCS championship titles: 7 for boys and 5 for girls. Heidary focuses on the whole person, not just athleticism.  “Character first” is his mantra.

Heidary is also devoted to developing swimmers to be competitive at North Coast.  Heidary said, “At North Coast, it doesn’t matter if you make it, you have to score. So we have to have kids that get better and score in the finals.”

Yet, he is more concerned about the development of his swimmers than he is about winning. He said, “[At meets] kids reach their goals, and that is the most important thing.” He views swimming as both a team and individual sport. According to Heidary, everyone can swim well, but they must represent the team. Everything the swim team does is a team effort.

Heidary believes that being responsible and having sound values will help each swimmer in the long run. Heidary said, “If a swimmer swims fast, or wins North Coast or breaks a record, if they haven’t developed emotionally and personally, then we failed that person.”

Olympian Kim Vandenberg, a former swimmer at Campo, is one of Heidary’s examples of personal development. He said that when she was young she wasn’t that emotionally mature, and regardless of how fast she was, his job was to develop her emotionally. Heidary said, “She grew from that. She’s a better person at 28 because of what we emphasized with her.”

Junior Sven Campbell said of Heidary, “He’s a great coach. He has a great personality and a lot of people don’t get him. Everyone thinks he’s super serious, but he’s actually a chill guy. When it comes to swimming, he can be serious, but that’s his whole life.” Campbell said that letting loose around his coach pays off. He said that his favorite thing about Heidary is his sarcasm.

Heidary’s twin brother, Donnie Heidary, has been coaching one of Campo’s main rivals, Miramonte. Tensions continue to rise between these dueling brothers’ teams. Recently, the Campo swim team has won the meet against Dougherty Valley under the coaching of Heidary and other assistant coaches. On Friday, March 16 swimmers will go up against Alhambra. Campo swimming is on the path to another NCS championship.