MacDonald brings energy, improvement

Veteran coach and peers recount achievements

Danielle Joseph, co-sports editor

Keith MacDonald proves that when someone is passionate about their sport, they can follow it throughout their lives. But even with passion for the sport, MacDonald, Head Coach of boys’ varsity Swimming and freshman girls’ Badminton, felt that it was time for him to move on from the role of Head Coach of varsity girls’ Swimming. 

 MacDonald has been a swim coach for 32 years, and 10 of those years have been spent as an assistant at Northwestern University. After leaving Northwestern, MacDonald took on coaching at South, where he has been for the past 16 years. Throughout his time at South, MacDonald coached both boys’ and girls’ swimming, but decided it to step down, as the girls’ swim coach, this year, in order to take on a new coaching role. 

“I thought it was time to try something different and I tried girls’ badminton,” MacDonald said. “I wanted to stay with coaching swimming and I chose boys over girls.”

The ability to coach multiple sports successfully may seem hard, but sophomore Grace Carlson, freshman girls’ Badminton player, said that it’s MacDonalds’ ability to connect with the athletes that makes him excel at coaching both badminton and swimming. 

“[MacDonald] is positive and kind,” Carlson said. “He brings out the best in people no matter what the sport is.”

Along with Carlson, Brittany Ethington, varsity girls’ Swimming  Head Coach, expressed that during MacDonald’s time as the girls’ swimming coach, he taught her the importance of connecting to the athletes. 

“[MacDonald] has taught me to make sure you are taking care of the whole athlete and checking in with them regularly to make sure they are doing okay outside of just swimming at practice.”

Ethington also said that it’s MacDonald’s ability to focus on the bigger picture and the improvements of the team that has made him excel at coaching. 

“[A piece of advice MacDonald has given me is to] think of the big picture throughout the entire season and focus on the athlete’s end goals,” Ethington said. “Wins and losses don’t matter as long as they are on track to swim fast at the end of the season.”

Senior Jaydn Pollack, junior varsity (JV) swimmer, said that MacDonald’s ability to put in the time to help his athletes individually has helped her greatly improve throughout the years. 

“When he was [the] JV coach, I would always go and talk to him,” Pollack said. “He took the time to individualize [his feedback].”

MacDonald believes that the abilities of the coach determine the success of the team and the athletes. 

“I make sure that [the athletes] understand it’s [about] cooperation,” MacDonald said. “We have to work together, coach and athlete, so we’ll be successful.” 

Although MacDonald said he enjoys both badminton and swimming. His success in coaching did not just come from preparation, but with passion. 

“I’ve had years of experience in [swimming], so there’s more experiences and more [memories] to look back on,” MacDonald said. “Swimming is always going to be my first love.”