Coach Don Sonia

Don SoniaDon Sonia

2012 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee

Glendale Swim School

Coach Sonia, who owned and coached the Glendale Swim School from 1961 through 1966, then moved to the Philadelphia Aquatic Club, was inducted on Sept. 7, 2012, into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He began his coaching career in the US Army in 1954 and concluded his coaching career in the Vero Beach area at St. Edwards school, Indian River College Masters, and Christi’s Family Fitness.

Coach Sonia taught over 10,000 young people to swim during his 57 year career. In 1953, as a swimmer, he swam a 23.1 – 50 meter freestyle. Two philosophical gems from Coach Sonia – On competitive philosophy – “Coordination and knowing how to pace yourself are the two major requirements for becoming a world record holder!”, and on the Secret to Success; “Be at the right place at the right time. Everything I did, I didn’t know it was coming. In terms of coaching, be fair and honest…everyone’s equal on a team.”

His team was third in the 1962 outdoor nationals, and had multiple Olympic team members for the USA. Among the famous names in swimming who either swam for, or coached with Coach Sonia are Ed Spencer, Tom Miliam, Frank Bates, Ken Krueger, Tim Barnes, Roy Saari, and Billy Craig and Rich McGeagh, Jack Bauerle, present coach at University of Georgia, and Coach Steve Fenning.

In recent years, Coach Sonia has been active in Masters Swimming and has helped set a number of Masters World Relay Records.

Coach Sonia lives in Vero Beach, Florida and is working on recovering his health in a local health care center. We look forward to honoring Coach Sonia in September, 2012 at the ASCA Annual Awards Banquet in Las Vegas.