Patricia Davis does not have a run-of-the-mill coaching resume.
Fauquier High's new swimming coach spent long hours in the water in California, Hawaii and back to California before arriving in Virginia this fall with her husband, Jud, who had completed a stay in the military.
Davis attended a job fair for long-term substitute teachers and was hired at Taylor Middle School, where she teaches special education. She learned of the Fauquier opening and decided to apply.
Her resume and youthful enthusiasm made an impact on Fauquier activities director Mark Ott.
"I think she's going to do a great job. I'm really looking forward to working with her," said Ott.
Even though the start of practice has been postponed until Jan. 6, Davis still is itching to get to work with her swimmers. "I’m very excited to immerse myself in the community," she said.
"Some of the best memories I’ve had in high school were with my teammates, on bus rides and through team bonding activities," Davis said. "I hope that I can build the same rapport with my athletes," she added.
Davis is a native of northern California, where she swam for a year-round USA Swimming program for 12 years. She also played high school water polo for four years among other sports.
She said her best events as a USA Swimmer were the 400 individual medley, 200 IM and 100 and 200 breaststroke. In high school she said she swam four events, usually 200 IM and 100 breaststroke and two relays.
“My dad always made me swim all the swim events at least once during the year for USA Swimming, so for high school I volunteered to swim any event so my teammates had a chance to swim other events,” she said.
Davis didn’t swim while attending the University of Hawaii, but she was a four-year manager for the Rainbow Warriors football program. After graduating in 2016, she was the head lifeguard/interim manager at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Oahu, where she worked extensively with marines and sailors stationed there.
"The majority of my coaching experience comes from training/instructing military personnel from basic through advanced aquatic training for Special Forces," Davis said.
She and her husband Jud moved to California, where Davis worked for the Wounded Warrior Battalion. She described it as "the active duty unit where marines and sailors who are ill or injured are sent," Davis said. "I learned to help coach adaptive swimming techniques from the nation’s best adaptive sport specialist."
She was the assistant swim coach for Marine Corps Trials, a competition among wounded marines from the East and West coasts. Some of those athletes were selected to represent the Marine Corps in the Department of Defense Warrior Games, with the possibility of joining the United States team for the 2020 Invictus Games at The Hague, Netherlands in May. This year's event was canceled.
"She's never really coached at a high school setting before," Ott said of Davis. "But the experience she has as a swimmer herself and as an instructor to the military elite shows she will be an asset for our program."
The new coach says several of her Taylor colleagues have had experience with the program, and their comments have made her more eager.
"They have been very helpful with explaining the program to me. It seems to be almost exactly to how my high school swim program was, which is very exciting," Davis said.
Davis isn’t familiar with her team yet, but knows a few are club swimmers.
"I’m excited to work with all the athletes. It’s always great to have a team with many talents, where we can share our knowledge with each other and make our team better as a whole."
The new coach wants to develop a positive across-the-board chemistry. Pandemic restrictions make that goal more difficult: "I do see a challenge with the social aspect," she admits. "I would like to plan team bonding activities. One idea I have is a virtual team dinner."