Peter Carpenter is literally swimming in everything and anything related to the Martlets and the Redmen. As the head coach and manager of the McGill swimming program, he is always “looking to improve the situation for student-athletes.”
Carpenter remembers his own student days. He worked his way up, and was coaching by the age of 18, eventually landing a position as head coach at Pointe-Claire in 2005. “That experience was formative, and after a few years at Pointe-Claire, there came a time that I was beginning to plan another move,” he says. “At just that time, Drew Love [Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation] gave me a call and brought up the opportunity to come to McGill. It was perfect timing. I started in September 2009.”
Carpenter has turned in a strong performance. Known for his enthusiasm, he creates an environment that focuses on determination, team spirit, and yes, fun, all qualities that helped him earn the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award in 2010.
The McGill swimming program has seen some impressive results over Carpenter’s first three seasons. For instance, in 2012, the team saw a jump in performance level at the nationals in Montreal, with the women capturing the provincial banner, taking home McGill’s first banner in eight years.
“Being at McGill allows me to coach nationally carded athletes – athletes such as Steven Bielby and Valerie Grandmaison – who are recognized by the national swimming body. Because of this, I qualify for an honorarium every year, through the Quebec Ministry of Education,” he explains.
But Carpenter isn’t content to sit on his honorarium. Instead, he finds ways to give back. “I know what the students are going through, and how hard they work balancing all their commitments. I give back for them, the swim program, but also for myself. Any extra investment – not just from me, but from all the donors who make a difference by giving to the program – makes my job easier. It just helps everything run more smoothly, and I get to see the benefits put to work, right before my eyes.”
The change is visible – even through swim goggles.