Bainbridge Spartans boys swimming coach Kaycee Taylor will step down from his position after the state swimming meet
Longtime Bainbridge boys swimming coach Kaycee Taylor announced last weekend to his team that he would be stepping down from coaching.
It would be a fairytale ending if the Spartans could send their coach out with the school’s fourth-straight state 3A championship, Feb. 21-22, at King County Aquatic Center.
Taylor has lead or been a part of the swimming program at Bainbridge since 2002-03. Taylor started as an assistant before taking over head coaching duties were he remained and was assisted by girls head coach and WISCA Hall of Fame inductee Greg Colby.
Taylor returned to full-time teaching this school year, his first since 2013, and the inkling to resign from coaching took hold.
“I am leaving not due to any issue or problem,” Taylor said in a letter to his team last weekend. “Coaching was often the highpoint of many of the past few years when my professional life and health were at their most difficult. During that time I knew that for at least two hours an afternoon I would be in a space where common focus, kindness, competitive challenge, humor and a commitment to the we over the me would be the way things were approached.”
In the beginning of his coaching days at Bainbridge, Taylor “inherited” Greg Colby and the relationship remains a blessing to this day.
“(Colby) was and continues to be an amazing coach, mentor, friend and someone who know more about the sport of swimming than I could ever hope to (learn),” Taylor said.
Taylor’s lone absence from the program was during 2015 when he was being treated for cancer and also a one-year teacher exchange. Taylor admitted his health isn’t as it once was, but is cancer free.
During his tenure the Spartans have won three state 3A championships, five Metro League titles (six overall) and was named the WISCA 3A Coach of the Year twice.
Taylor said the team has benefitted from the talents of athletic secretary Sarah Bullock and former secretary Mary Sue Silver, the countless assistant coaches, volunteers, parents and talented swimmers that he’s worked with and taught.
The team has also benefitted from the profound influence and participation of the Bainbridge Island Swim Club including coach Carolyn Ackerley and Leilani Tonsmann, and Bainbridge water polo and coach Kristin Gellert, Taylor said.
The time spent on deck also meant time away from his family, including wife Sarah and their two daughters Addison and Delaney.
“I also missed nearly every one of Delaney’s birthdays due to championship season, countless holidays spend in the humid, chlorinated confines of a pool instead of a sunny beach or frosty mountain, more early morning, late nights and bus trips I can remember,” Taylor said in his farewell letter to his swimmers. “I am grateful to the parents of the boys I have coached, their involvement in our all-volunteer program allows Bainbridge to put on the best meets in the area,” Taylor said, adding “the support they show each year makes my job so much easier and enjoyable.”
Taylor will miss many of the little things — from the silence between the long whistle and the beep of the starter, every 400 freestyle relay race when a meet hangs in the balance — to the look on a swimmers face when he set a personal best time.
“I am confident that the Spartan swim and dive program will continue its tradition of excellence long into the future and count the past years coaching the team as some of my best and fondest memories,” Taylor said.