Solomon deserves recognition

Sunday Sports Mailbag

An 82 to 85 winning percentage for a coach in any sport should get you some recognition.

Do it for a stretch of 20 years, and if you were a coach in one of the major sports such as football, basketball, etc. they would probably name a stadium after you.

However, in the sport of swimming, which only gets mainstream recognition every four years when the Olympics roll around, a winning percentage of 82 to 85 percent doesn’t even get you much notice beyond the people who participate in the sport.

In the case of the Hollidaysburg Area High School swim team and head coach Deb Solomon, it barely gets you recognition in the local community.

Swimming as a sport, even at the high school level — if you are doing it right — requires hours and hours of dedicated hard work by the athletes each and every week.

The vast majority of the swimmers at Hollidaysburg Area High School regularly put in 20-30 hours each week.

This is only overshadowed by the number of hours that the coaches put in every week, planning and being there for every practice, coordinating the meets and all the details that go into high school sports.

Now do that year after year for 20 years and win 82 to 85 percent of your competitions for that entire 20 years, and that is an accomplishment, with (in Solomon’s case) no sign of stopping.

As a parent of a former Hollidaysburg swimmer who went from an average swimmer to district qualifier, I can attest to the positive changes that Solomon made in my daughter’s life not only inside but outside the pool as well.

With my daughter’s athletic success there was also a positive change outside the pool as Solomon helped to create confidence, build her self-esteem and instill in my daughter a willingness to challenge herself.

And Solomon did this with so many students, time and time again.

I hear the same variation of this same story every time that I talk to the parents of another swimmer.

I think it only fitting that the community and the school district do something to honor Deb Solomon now and not at some point when the meaning of the gesture is handed off at retirement like the proverbial gold watch.

I propose that the pool at the Hollidaysburg Area High School be named in honor of Deb Solomon.

This is not only to reward and recognize her for her accomplishments over these 20 years and the positive impact that she has had on some many students but also to recognize the standard of excellence that Deb Solomon has established here in Hollidaysburg.­

David Gorman, Hollidaysburg