By Sean Fitz-Gerald
Ryerson swim coach Alison Lee has had enough of the North Kerr Hall basement. She is ending her three year Ryerson career at the end of this season.
Lee, 25, says she is being pulled in too many directions. She wants to concentrate more on her full time job and spend more time with her three-year-old daughter, Jade.
“As great as it’s been, especially this year, for personal reasons I have to move on,” she says.
Lee started with the swim team three years ago as an assistant coach before taking the head coaching job in 1996.
The young coach has already taken a member of her team to the CIAU swimming championships and will make a repeat performance again this year.
World record holder Marie Claire Ross, Ryerson’s only CIAU competitor for the past two years, says Lee has had quite an impact on her life.
“The wonderful thing about Alison is that she listens to the swimmers and she doesn’t make any unreasonable demands,” says Ross, who broke four world records in swimming last weekend.
Rookie swimmer Chris Baronenas says most of the credit for his achievements at the OUAs has to go to Lee.
“The coaching from Alison has been remarkable with me,” he says. “I sank the first time I went in the pool in September.”
Lee says one of the other reasons for leaving is her relationship with her swimmer.
“I am close in age with a lot of the swimmers,” she says. “I sometimes wish I could see them outside of the pool more, but being a coach restricts you. I was finding it difficult to distance myself.
“You can’t be everything to them,” she adds. “You can be their friend, their coach, their mentor, but you can’t be their drinking buddy.”
But Lee is not ready to leave the team yet. She will be with Ross at the CIAU national swimming championships this weekend in Sherbrooke.
“I don’t feel my job’s over yet.”