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University of Victoria swimming coach splashes into retirement after 41 years

Peter Vizsolyi started the a volunteer head coach in 1983
University of Victoria swimming coach Peter Vizsolyi has retired after 41 years.

One of the longest tenured coaches in Canada, the University of Victoria (UVic) Vikes swimming coach Peter Vizsolyi is retiring after 41 years.

In a corresponding move, assistant coach Ryan Clouston is taking over the head coaching role.

"After 41 incredible years as the head coach of the Vikes swim team, I am filled with pride, nostalgia, and excitement as I pass the reigns to Ryan," said Vizsolyi. "Ryan has been an integral part of our community for more than two decades, starting as a swimmer and growing into a full-time head coach."

Over the course of his career, which started in 1983 as volunteer head coach, Vizsolyi lead the Vikes swimmers to 470 national championship/CIS/U SPORTS medals with 58 top 10 finishes and was named U SPORTS coach of the year in 1988 and '98. Additionally, UVic student-athletes made 19 Olympic and Paralympic appearances, winning 77 international medals at Canadian National, Commonwealth, Pan-Am, Pan-Pac, FISU and Olympic competitions in that time.

"Everyone is proud of the successes and the Olympic medals, but the things you remember most are the athletes who overcame obstacles and challenges and the process of helping them through that to reach their goals," Vizsolyi said. 

In 1988, he also found Island Swimming and played a role in making the Saanich Commonwealth Place a high-performance centre in 1994.

Vizsolyi was honoured in 2014 by being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Commonwealth Games Sport Committee.

As for Clouston, a UVic alumni, he takes over after being an assistant coach since 2010 and a lead coach for the Pacific Coast Swimming.

"It's a very exciting new step to be the head coach, having been an athlete and assistant coach with the Vikes for so long," said Clouston. "It will always be a challenge, but one that keeps me relentlessly motivated. Peter has given me a lot of trust and opportunity over the years, and it's allowed me to learn and grow as a coach in this great program and coaching great student-athletes. This has been an invaluable experience that wouldn't have been possible without Peter's support."

Vizsolyi announced his retirement on June 17.

"Ryan's dedication to the program over the last 14 years has been unparalleled, and I have every confidence that he will lead with the same passion that has defined his time with us thus far," said Vizsolyi. "The future is bright, and I am excited to witness the next chapter of our team's legacy unfold under his guidance."

Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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