Swim-and-dive coach returns to Jupiter

Dennis Connolly returns to lead Jupiter’s swim-and-dive team after announcing his retirement at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

“It’s hard to give it up,” Connolly said.

Connolly’s passion for coaching stems from the energy and development of the athletes.

“We are like family. We all get along so well, and they are a lot of fun to be with…They make me feel young,” Connolly said.

Connolly loves working with Jupiter High’s swimmers and divers, and they too have a deep amount of respect and admiration for him as a coach.

“[Coach] Dennis is different from other coaches I’ve had because he always brings up my spirit,” Leila Glowka, Jupiter High senior diver, said. “Dennis always has something nice to say and never turns away from a conversation. It’s amazing that he always makes time for us, no matter how busy he is.”

The bond between Connolly and his athletes is praiseworthy, making it enjoyable for the veteran Jupiter coach. Swimming since high school, Connolly has been coaching for 45 years.

Connolly’s favorite part of coaching is “working with the kids and seeing them improve.” He hopes to not only focus on improving the skills of swimmers and divers but also on building bonds with student athletes.

“[Connolly] brings joy to the team and his swimmers, which can make the dynamic more enjoyable even with the setbacks from COVID,” Tre V Monroe, Jupiter High senior swimmer, said.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the swim-and-dive team had to take a break from team conditioning and had to adjust their fall season, but both Connolly and his team are determined to persevere.

“It’s been a rough season so far,” Connolly said. “The one big disappointment for this year is that the kids cannot compete at the state championship.”

While the state championship is out of reach, the swimmers and divers are dedicated to setting and breaking records, knowing their hard work will be rewarded with Connolly’s support. Having their coach return is the best award of all.