Calvin College

Calvin swim coach returns home

Dan Gelderloos never imagined that he would come back home to do a thing he loved. But as Calvin's aquatics director and men's and women's swim coach, he's done just that.

A year ago, Gelderloos was working for an environmental company using geology degrees that he earned at Calvin and at the University of Memphis. But inside, Gelderloos felt a different calling.

"I chose a career in geology as a student but deep down, I always wanted to be a coach," said Gelderloos. "I finally realized it last year and that's when I decided to make a career move."

Gelderloos dropped his full-time position at an environmental company for a part-time position as a swim coach at a United States Swimming Club in Memphis. Less than a year later, the aquatics and coaching position opened up at Calvin. Gelderloos applied and now finds himself doing something he truly loves.

"It's really amazing how things have worked out," said Gelderloos. "If you would have told me a year ago I would be coaching the swim teams at Calvin I would have said you were crazy."

A four-year member of the Calvin men's swim team between 1990-1994, Gelderloos was often looked upon with amazement with the way he drove himself in workouts and in meets. "I was never a very talented swimmer so I had to work as hard as I could every day in practice," he said. As a senior, Gelderloos was voted team captain and helped lead the Knights to a fourth-place MIAA finish.

Now as a coach, he sees the possibility of both Calvin swim teams moving even farther up the league standings. "There's a buzz of excitement going around in both teams," said Gelderloos. "I've got swimmers already stopping in to talk about line-ups for next year. It looks like we could also have a good group of incoming freshmen. We've never had teams with large numbers but we could have some of the biggest teams that we've ever had at Calvin.."

Gelderloos is also involved in teaching aquatics classes at Calvin and during the summer, he will be in charge of summer swimming lessons. He'll also be taking graduate classes toward a master's degree in sports administration.

"It's been a pretty hectic year but everything has turned out much better than I could have ever expected," said Gelderloos. "The Calvin swim program is very near and dear to my heart. My goal is to make it as good as it can be."