SARASOTA, Florida, July 8. THE highly successful Sarasota Y Sharks swim team stayed within its own ranks to replace the departing Steve Brown in the head coach position, promoting Brent Arckey today from assistant coach to full-time head coach.
Arckey had been serving as interim head coach since Brown’s departure for the University of Arizona on May 31. Before that, he was assistant coach, working primarily with the 13-14 age group.
“Sarasota has been very well-known through the years for distance freestyle,” Arckey said. “I was brought in (in 2010) to help with the middle distance and IM groups. Coach Brown said, ‘I want you to take these guys and develop them,’ and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do that.”
Arckey said the past five weeks in the interim job hasn’t been that jarring, since he had worked closely with Brown for the past two years and saw firsthand what goes into leading the team.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past five weeks, it’s managing people,” Arckey said. “If you use parents, they can be a real asset. They have expertise from their lives outside of swimming that … can help the team in some way and let us do our job on deck.”
Arckey’s primary job this summer might be to get the Sharks back to the top of the podium at the YMCA nationals. Sarasota has a storied history at that meet, winning the combined team title 13 times since 1979 and nine straight from 2005 to 2013. The team was second in combined points at last spring’s nationals, 106 points behind Middle Tyger YMCA.
Many of the team’s top swimmers are focusing on racing at the junior and senior nationals in Irvine, with a combined 16 swimmers making the cross-country trip for the big meets next month. Don’t expect a reinvention of the wheel in Sarasota, Arckey said.
“There’s a lot of tradition here and I’m not looking to overhaul anything,” he said.
Arckey is a Florida native, growing up in the Daytona Beach area and swimming collegiately at the University of Florida. He got his start in coaching at his alma mater, working with the age group program there and as a volunteer assistant coach for the college team.