Coaching the Enemy

For Mr. Graham, much of his life is the same as it was a decade ago: he is still a history teacher for Perkiomen Valley High School, still a high school swim coach and his boys swim team is currently undefeated, just as his Vikings were ten years ago. The only difference is instead of coaching the Perkiomen Valley swim team, he is coaching the school’s biggest rival, Spring-Ford. 

“I missed coaching swimming,” said Graham. “I stopped coaching [at PV] when my kids were born. They got old enough, there was a coach already here, I live in that community, and I missed coaching swimming.” 

The oddity of the situation is not lost on Graham, however. “It feels really weird to coach at Spring-Ford and teach at PV. I’ve been a Viking for close to thirty years now, and that’s how I feel,” Graham said. Once he returned poolside, however, the comfort of years past gradually returned. 

“The first year was really, really difficult. I didn’t know anyone from there, and there are a lot of differences: when I coached here, you see the kids in the hallway, you have a relationship; I don’t get that opportunity [at Spring-Ford]. But when I get to the pool, it’s kinda like it always was.” Graham said.

In his first season as the Spring-Ford swim coach, Graham led the team to its most Pioneer Athletic Conference (PAC) wins ever, finishing 9-1 and securing second place in the PAC. 

Graham admits it is a weird feeling competing in meets against Perkiomen Valley.

“I’ve been away from Perk Valley now for ten years, so I don’t really know the Perk Valley swimmers like I would’ve, which has been very strange. Swimming is a type of sport where you can still root for your opponent, someone like Andrew Keenan. I love Andrew Keenan, and I will always be rooting for Andrew Keenan. One of my favorite photos I have is of Cooper Demark and Declan Lees in my first year.” Graham said, reminiscing on his past as the Vikings coach. 

The goal for the rest of the season remains the same as it was ten years ago: win the PAC and dive for more.