October 22, 2015 — Coaches, athletes, and officials crowded the Glens Falls pool deck on October 20th to celebrate Coach Patricia (Pat) Potter, who has served more than 60 years in the sport of swimming and diving.
“Pat is a founding member of swimming and diving in our area, especially Glens Falls,” says Coach Kevin Crossman. “She coached at Glens Falls, all of her children swam for Glens Falls, and she continues to officiate meets and help athletes wherever she goes. Her impact on this sport is truly remarkable.”
The surprise recognition came during the Glens Falls Girls Varsity meet against Saratoga, which Mrs. Potter was officiating. Coach Crossman presented her with a plaque that reads:
In recognition of your dedicated service to the Glens Falls Swimming & Diving community over six decades as teacher, as coach, as motivator, as leader of Section 2 and New York State officials, for 35 years of successful diving clinics, for 30 years of service at state championships, for knowing how to help swimmers, divers, coaches, parents, and officials be their best.
You have guided and inspired hundreds of young athletes to believe in themselves, work hard, promote sportsmanship, and reach new heights.
Mrs. Potter has had quite a remarkable career in our swimming community, starting as an instructor at the old downtown YMCA in 1955. In the early 1960’s, she took over as Coach of the YMCA Boys team, with Joe McPhillips and Wendell Wilson, and was part of a small group who started Kattskill Bay Swim Club, led by Bob Jones. Swimmers from that team were the foundation for the fledgling Glens Falls High School team, a revival of the swim program that had been dormant at GFHS since 1938. The “new” team swam in the Junior High pool on Glen Street and quickly became competitive with the best teams in Section II.
From the 1960’s through the 1990’s, she worked with Fort Ann’s summer swimming program, first with legendary Bill “Coach” Sheridan, then with Gretchen Stark, Fort Ann’s longtime softball coach who won Section II and State championships and is in the New York State Softball Hall of Fame. Three (maybe four) generations of kids learned to swim through the program under their leadership.
During the 1970’s, she worked with Bob Vorreyer, founder and coach of the nationally-recognized Coquins synchronized swim team. Through Bob’s mentoring, she developed an understanding and love of diving. Since then, she has coached and guided many divers, from novices to State championship contenders, including Tim Burke and current stand-out Raislan Aiken. She has conducted a series of diving clinics for the past 38 years, bringing together coaches, officials, local divers, and top-ranked college divers to share learning and promote excellence.
She has also been “the first …” on a number of occasions: the first certified official in the Glens Falls area, starting in 1962, the first woman elected President of the Section II Officials Assn. (a post she held for twelve years), the first woman to represent Section II on State-level NYSCSOA and NYSPHSAA committees, the longest-serving State Championship diving referee in New York (currently preparing for Year 31), and is currently the longest-serving active swimming official in Section II.
"She has guided and inspired hundreds of young athletes to believe in themselves, work hard, promote sportsmanship, and reach new heights," wrote Steve Potter.
Among the crowd were: John Mason, who coached Glens Falls girls’ and boys’ teams for 32 years; Pat Seligman, former head of Section II swimming; Jim Young, once a coach for Glens Falls in the late 60's, who has been a long-time official alongside Pat; Pat's son, Steve Potter, who is in the GF Hall of Fame; Pat's daughter, Sue, who swam on the first girls team ever formed here at GF (having swum one year on the boys team before the girls team was established); Dave Morrissey, ‘79 GFHS swimming alum; Mike Morrissey, ‘81 GFHS swimming alum; Carrie (Thompson) Mauro, '83 GFHS swimming alum; Liz (Thompson) Collins, ’83 GFHS swimming alum; Cathy Charles Rice, ’80 GFHS swimming alum; Mary Homkey ’80 GFHS swimming alum; Scott Young, ’85 Queensbury swimming alum; a large group of Shenendehowa and Saratoga swimming alumni; and several current and former swimmers, divers, and families.