Since becoming head coach in 2012, David Fox has led Andover Boys Swimming to 7 New England titles while breaking 277 national, eastern, class, pool, meet, school, and New England records. Fox’s teams, including 22 different swimmers with various All-American awards, have amounted to a 57-3 overall meet record.
In all his years being involved in swimming, Fox appreciates the simplicity of the sport and believes swimming is unique because swimmers are able to focus on individual improvement rather than focusing on their opponents.
Fox said, “One thing about swimming that I greatly appreciate is that it’s just swimmer and clock, which allows us to always try to focus on that which we control and ignore the rest. I very rarely talk about other teams, about winning, about anything that is not something over which we have control.”
According to Trey Wolfe ’23, Fox challenges his swimmers in the best ways by pushing them to their absolute limits without pushing them over the edge.
Wolfe said, “I would say his knowledge from years of coaching here is his best quality. He knows what works well and what works better. He knows how to push us right to our breaking point without burning us out. This makes us trust him, and it drives us to work hard every day, because we know it pays.”
In order for a team to be successful, the swimmers need to believe in themselves, as well as the coach, according to Fox. Coach Fox tries to implement this strategy in his day to day coaching and in meets.
Fox said, “One thing I try to do, and I think it is advice from John Wooden, is to make sure I am giving at least 90% positive feedback. I am not sure I ever hit that, from the swimmers’ perspectives, but I do know I sometimes believe more in the swimmers than they believe in themselves.”
According to Co-Captain Max Fang ’22, coach Fox knows how to push his swimmers, as well as give them constructive criticism about their performance in practice or in meets.
Fang said, “Coach Fox has put us through some hard sets this year, but all of it is curated so that we can swim as fast as we can when Easterns comes around. He has also not been afraid to share with us his criticisms in races or in practice, keeping us honest and helping us know what to improve on for the next race.”
Ahead of each season, one of coach Fox’s goals is not only to swim as fast as possible, but also to create a unique bond among his swimmers. He has enjoyed watching the team adapt through canceled seasons and come back just as strong as before.
“Each season, my primary goal is to help build a family in which everyone cares for everyone else and in which the needs of the whole outweigh the interests of the few or the one. This year, this has been particularly challenging, not because of the people on the team but rather because of the pandemic’s severance from the past with the now. This is not a ‘rebuilding year’; this is a ‘re-creation year,’ said Fox.