Dave Pells was an incredibly successful swimming coach at Kennedy Collegiate. His Clippers swim teams won 24 city championships during his glittering 37-year coaching career.
Pells was born on September 22, 1945 in South Elmsal, England. He was raised in Hamilton, Ontario, where he went on to graduate from McMaster University. In university, he competed for the school’s swimming and water polo teams.
Pells began his teaching career in 1971 at Kennedy Collegiate, where he would remain for the entirety of his 37-year teaching and coaching career. Over time, he brought unprecedented to the swim program at what was a relatively small school. He is remembered for his incredible dedication to the swim team, as evidenced by year-round 6am practices throughout his time at the school.
Under Pells’ stewardship, the Kennedy Clippers swim team captured 24 city championships (WSSA and WECSSAA), including a scarcely believable 23 consecutive city crowns from 1979 to 2001. During this run, Kennedy also won 10 OFSAA all-Ontario championships, including seven consecutive titles from 1991 to ’97. Pells’ teams also captured 18 OFSAA divisional championships.
Pells received numerous accolades for his excellent coaching. He was honoured as the Outstanding Coach Award winner by the Ontario Water Polo Association, and he was invited to coach at the ISF Swimming Championships in Belgium.
Several of Pells’ outstanding swimmers received NCAA scholarships, including Tisha Stojkovic (Arkansas), Matt McWha (Princeton), and David Kuzak (Ashland). Mike McWha, who received a scholarship to the University of Michigan, competed at the Sydney Olympics.
Pells retired from teaching in 2008.