If you’re a regular at the Stokes Family YMCA there’s a good chance you’ve met aquatics director, Chris Chunn. He’s part of the friendly staff and also serves as West Stokes swim coach. After leading the boys team to a Western Piedmont Conference championship and the ladies to a second place finish Chunn was named WPAC coach of the year.
“I love what I do. It’s great to see kids participating in a sport here at the Y instead of going home and playing video games. I’m glad we’re able to provide a safe, fun place for them to come,” Chunn said.
The Wildcats swimming program had 41 athletes participate this season and five qualified for the NCHSAA state championship in Cary over the weekend.
“It’s an awesome feeling to see a kid come in that’s never really competed in a sport, give this a try. Swimming is hard, but once you build up cardiovascular strength you’re well on your way. I’ve seen teens come in nervous and scared, but by the end of the season they’ve gained some confidence. That’s what it’s all about,” Chunn said.
The coach believes the program is a good mix of experienced swimmers and newcomers.
“We have some come in that have never swam competitively and then others that are year-round club swimmers that swam in the YMCA’s TYDE program and summer leagues,” the coach said.
Chunn is a West Stokes graduate and has worked at the YMCA for the past nine years. He also serves as the interim childcare director which oversees three afterschool sites at Mount Olive, King Elementary, and Poplar Springs.
One of Chunn’s favorite things about coaching is seeing kids work hard and watching their confidence soar.
“These kids put a lot of heart into the sport. We pair the experienced swimmers with the newer ones and help them work on strokes, flip turns, and dives. It’s amazing what they can learn in a short amount of time,” he said.
This season the Wildcats 400 relay team dropped 12 seconds at the WPAC regional meet.
“That’s impressive. They were one place away from getting into the state portion. That’s a lot of time to drop. I was extremely proud of that group and all the others that dropped time,” he said.
Chunn encourages student athletes to try swimming if they’re looking for something new.
“It’s a sport that if you work and persevere you’ll see results. I’m proud of the group this season and I believe they’ll continue to be successful.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.