At Holland Aquatic Center, our facilities are awesome and so is our staff. In this We Are HAC! series, we’ll introduce you to the people who love to teach, coach, protect, serve and inspire here. Our amazing team, more than 100 strong, is passionate about empowering healthy, connected lives through aquatics and wellness programming. Meet them here in this blog series and in-person at Holland Aquatic Center!
Ian Townsend, co-head coach of Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics (MLA), has been walking a pool deck as long as he can remember. A competitive swimmer since age 10, Ian began his coaching career in 2002 while a student at Michigan State University. A native of Lansing, his first coaching gig landed him at nearby Grand Ledge High School where he became an assistant coach for both the boys and girls programs at the age of 19. He’s been spending considerable time poolside ever since, as a high school head coach for 16 years as well as a club coach at Mid-Michigan Aquatics before joining MLA.
But coaching swimming is not the only aquatic knowledge and passion Ian has had. He founded the girls water polo team at Grand Ledge in 2005, learning the sport via YouTube videos and taking the team from a 27-2 loss in its first match to a 20-3 record in its ninth season. When he turned over the reins to another coach in 2014, the program was ranked for the first time in the state.
Today, Ian leads MLA, along with co-head coach Jim Whitehead, at its home here at Holland Aquatic Center, and together they work to maximize the potential of every athlete regardless of experience or ability. The year-round program serves 125-175 swimmers ages 8 to 22 during the calendar. In the past year, MLA placed second at the Michigan State Championships for both the winter and summer season.
Learn more about Ian
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite place in the world: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Favorite book: No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Biggest fear: Drowning
Bucket list Item I most want to accomplish: Travel to Ireland and Scotland
Best vacation spot: Anyplace that’s warm
You’d be surprised to know… “I enjoy home improvement projects.”
What I like most about working at HAC: “The kids. We get to work with some of the most hard-working and goal-oriented people I have ever experienced. Their drive to succeed allows our coaching staff push to be the best we can be. Also, our facility is one of the best in the United States. I take pride in hosting some of the best meets in this state.”