Mountain View swim

New Mountain View swim coaches Jack Giles, “left,” and Bradley Tandy have already started to establish a new culture for the program, one that focuses on execution and treating every practice as if the swimmers are in the middle of a competition.

Coaches come from every walk of life. In the professional ranks, many are former players while others worked from low-level employees to the top.

In high school there is no formula. They could be a teacher or a parent. Sometimes, veteran coaches flock to programs ready for a change of pace. In Mountain View’s case, that’s what they got in Jack Giles, who took over the program this season.

What the Toros also received in Giles is a veteran with numerous state titles under his belt as a coach. His knowledge and impact are already being felt by both the girls’ and boys’ teams, and it’s shown in the number of athletes Mountain View has this year.

“The squads go from 60-80 normally every year,” Giles said.

Giles coached Arcadia to three straight state championships from 1991-93. In 1993, the Titans scored a whopping 350 points, 21 points higher than the runner-up that year at the 4A level. He was most recently the head coach at Dobson High School, where he spent the last six years attempting to rebuild the Mustang program.

But while at Dobson, the roster dissipated. He’s always wanted to coach a high volume of swimmer, something Dobson unfortunately could no longer provide. Mountain View, however, could.

So, when the job with the Toros opened, he knew he had to apply. He was hired.

“I knew we would have this wide spectrum of kids,” Giles said before pointing out a 6-foot-4 freshman swimmer for Mountain View. “Look at him.”

Giles’ roster is littered with talent this season, especially on the girls’ side with senior Emma Becker.

Becker has already won multiple state titles in her swimming career at Mountain View. This year, though, she is aiming higher. That includes securing a scholarship to swim at the next level. But that has, at times, interrupted her practice schedule with Mountain View.

Giles has been forced to work around her recruiting trips early on this season. Wednesday, Sept. 10, Becker was absent from practice because she was on a college visit. But Giles understands that comes with talented swimmers. He keeps his mantra of coaching the same, whether everyone is in attendance or not.

“I talked to them about it today,” Giles said. “Their experience over the next three weeks with Emma’s recruitment trips is very important. It leaves opportunity for everyone else.”

Mountain View is no stranger to success in the pool. The legacy many former Toros leave extends well-beyond the last few years.

Breeja Larson is a prime example of the level of talent that comes out of the program. An Olympic swimmer, she has helped train Becker this season, who told her she has her sights set on breaking her record time of just over 1 minute in the breaststroke.

Swimmers who hold themselves to lofty goals are part of the reason Giles took on the job at Mountain View. He wanted the responsibility of helping them reach that next level. But he knows not every swimmer has an exact vision for what they plan to do with the sport beyond high school.

That’s why he treats all swimmers the same and holds them to the same level of accountability. It is beneficial for not only those like Becker who aim to compete at the Division I college level next year, but for those such as senior Charlie Trejo who aren’t sure of the value swimming holds in his future.

“(Giles) knows a lot about swimming, and it’s not just about grinding this year like it has been in previous years,” Trejo said. “With him, it’s been more working on technique.”

The culture Giles wants to bring to the Mountain View program is stern, but fair. He’s an old-school coach. It’s something he’s proud of.

But he also ties in some of his own philosophies to make his coaching style his own. That’s what he hopes will make the biggest impact on this year’s group of Mountain View swimmer and for those who come into the program down the road.

“We’ve tried to keep them happy, so we’re not coming in and cracking the whip on them,” Giles said. “Try to be accommodating when we can. I want their parents and the people who are going to see them swim at the end of the year to instantly recognize that that’s not the same swimmer that started in August.”

Giles knows he wouldn’t be able to lead all the Mountain View swimmers on his own. In his eyes, reinforcements were a requirement, and he brought in heavy artillery to get it done.  

Bradley Tandy represented South Africa in the Rio and Tokyo Games. While he has only been with the Mountain View program about a week, he already recognizes the culture Giles is putting into place.  

“They train well, and there’s a lot of attention to detail,” said Tandy, who hopes his experience will help Mountain View swimmers understand the importance of preparing every day as if they are racing. “The transition from training to racing is where they start losing it. The jitters, your family is in the stands, it’s a common occurrence.”

Tandy’s presence, along with Giles’ championship experience, has already helped Mountain View’s swimmers. While Trejo remains unsure of his own college plans, he believes their presence will make a dramatic impact on his teammates who do have goals of competing at the next level.

He said the intensity and determination from Giles and Tandy have already rubbed off on his team. 

“These people work their whole lives,” Trejo said, “to be able to see that is pretty amazing.”

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