KISU Swim Club president Jacki Kliever (left) and head coach Tina Hoeben each received provincial recognition at the Swim BC awards ceremonies last weekend.                                Mark Brett/Western News

KISU Swim Club president Jacki Kliever (left) and head coach Tina Hoeben each received provincial recognition at the Swim BC awards ceremonies last weekend. Mark Brett/Western News

Penticton KISU Swim Club brass shine at awards

KISU coach and president honoured at Swim BC awards ceremony

It was the KISU Swim Club brass that brought home the hardware this time around from last weekend’s Swim B.C. awards banquet.

Club president Jacki Kliever won the Volunteer of the Year honours and KISU head coach Tina Hoeben was recognized as the Youth Coach of the Year.

“Jacki originally began as a volunteer out of a commitment to her children’s choice of sport,” said Hoeben about Kliever’s award. “She quickly grew into an ambassador for the sport and for her club, offering the best of what she has to make others around her rise to their best.

Related: KISU swim meet used to gauge athlete performances

“Jacki is a firm believer in building a community within our club. She works hard to promote a sense of ownership among other club families, bringing them alongside to get involved and sharing our club values.”

Kliever has volunteered at the provincial level as Thompson-Okanagan regional director for the past two years, which included being zone rep for the 2018 B.C. Summer Games.

Her two boys, now 13 and 16, are both still club members and she says her love of the volunteer work — the last four years as president — will likely keep her coming back even once they are finished.

“When they do end up being done, we honour that part in their life that it played,” said Kliever. “I recognize they are different people because of that experience and we be grateful for that and after that.

Related: KISU swimmers have strong debuts

“I will probably stay a forever volunteer because I’ve seen it in so many kids to struggle and learn not to give up all those good things that make for great human beings in the world. I am a huge fan of seeing kids succeed overcome obstacles and take on a challenge.”

Her favourite part of volunteering with the club?

“I get to hang out with my lovely family because that’s where the energy all comes from,” she said. “We were joking that my husband should be the one getting up to get award in the time commitment that I’ve chosen to put in to swimming; when it is a busy time my kids are taken everywhere they need to be, dinner is still on the table, it really turns into a family effort.”

She also had plenty of praise for her head coach.

“You watch Tina, and she’s concerned about their swimming obviously, that’s what she’s paid to do, but she has such an understanding that swimming is one part of an entire person,” said Kliever. “She really cares about each one of those individuals and I think she cares about them deeper than they sometimes are aware of.

“She just wants to use the sport of swimming to build good people.”

Related: KISU coach wins prestigious award

Hoeben’s selection as Youth Coach of the Year in part recognizes her for having the top 15 and under girls and 16 and under boys in the province, as well as having a swimmer who won medals internationally.

As nice as they are, the medals are not her goal for the young swimmers she sees almost every day. “I think a lot of it is having great swimmers, for sure. They deserve a lot of the credit because they did a lot of hard work, but I really think it’s about working at preparing them to be first and foremost a person,” said Hoeben. “I think it’s really important to prepare them to be great adults and great people and from there coaching them to become great swimmers becomes much easier I think that’s one of the first steps is to make them into people of high character.

“I also think having a really supportive club has enabled me to become the best coach I can be and also to find my voice as a coach and to improve myself as a coach.”

Then there’s the added challenge of coaching the older kids.

“I work with teenagers, so it’s not the same every day,” said Hoeben with a laugh. “It’s not like I have a solution to all of the problems that are going to be presented to me they are creative but I enjoy that about them.”

She describes the sport as a particularly demanding and not for everyone.

“So even if people choose not to pursue swimming I encourage them to look at another sport because I think that’s a very big part of life,” said Hoeben.

Kliever agreed: “Learning to work hard, to be a good teammate, all of those are transferable skills that really build individuals and makes our community stronger.”

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