The Manhattan Marlins recently announced the hiring of a new head coach, and the new hire is excited for the opportunity.
Rob Putnam takes over the command of Manhattan’s USA Swimming-sanctioned club team and replaces previous head coach Ben Skutnik.
The Marlins’ feature a wide age group, from grade-school age to the more competitive high school level.
“The Marlins have had success and produced some fast swimmers over the years,” Putnam said in a telephone interview this week. “So that gets me excited.”
Putnam began swimming as an 8-year-old and was eventually a high school All-American in Longmount, Colo. He was the swimmer of the year in 1992 and went to the University of Kansas on a swimming scholarship.
A former KU team captain, Putnam began his coaching career as an assistant for Rallysport — another club swimming team — in Boulder, Colo., where he’s spent the last eight years.
Putnam said the Manhattan community has been gracious to him since he moved here a couple weeks ago, despite his Jayhawk affiliations.
“I’ve been trying to tell people not to hold it against me,” he joked, “and so far everyone has been pretty nice about it.
“It’s a little bit of an adjustment, for me, though… seeing all that purple around town. But it’s been great. Everyone in Manhattan has been really nice and really welcoming.”
Putnam said his experience as both a swimmer and on the coaching side of the sport combine for a solid foundation for the Marlins to learn from.
“I’ve got my experiences as a swimmer, obviously, and those are some things I rely on,” he said. “And then I have a lot of experiences as a coach. For me, my biggest strength is the technical side of things… the ability to break down the details of the stroke and fine-tuning things.
“The other thing is energy and enthusiasm. I try to get excited about coming to practice everyday and getting the kids fired up about being there as well. That way, they’re into it and ready to work hard and to learn about swimming.”
The Marlins, who have 70 swimmers, began their summer season on Friday at the Aqua Shock Summer Sizzler in Derby.