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Aquanauts name new head coach

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The Fort Frances Aquanauts swim team has hired a new head coach after being without one for more than two months.

Roman Ramirez, who had coached the Thompson Northern Torpedoes swim team in Manitoba for the last two years, will arrive here next week to begin preparations for the new season next month.

Aquanauts vice-president Connee Badiuk said Ramirez’s success in helping the Thompson club grow was a main reason for his hiring.

“He has a fabulous résumé,” she said. “We were concerned about growth and in the two years he’s been there [Thompson], he’s increased membership by 300 percent.”

“He’s very enthusiastic about coming here and we’re hoping to promote the club’s membership,” echoed Aquanauts treasurer Cindy McKinnon.

A native of Mexico City, the 38-year-old Ramirez has been involved in amateur swimming for more than 20 years. Prior to moving to Thompson, he coached in British Columbia and also helped form two clubs in his hometown.

Ramirez also was a standout swimmer for the University of Mexico in the early 1980s, and was on the Mexican national swim team’s training squad during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

The Aquanauts had parted ways with long-time head coach Debbie Murray in June when there were problems over contract negotiations.

McKinnon said not having a coach during the summer wasn’t detrimental to the club since it doesn’t operate during these months.

“We only operate on a nine-month program,” she said. “It wouldn’t have been any different if Debbie had not left. It’s the usual routine for the club.”

Registration for the coming season for new and returning swimmers is slated Aug. 29-30 from 6-8 p.m. at the Memorial Sports Centre.

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