Bonnie Sue Fisher, whose tireless efforts have raised the level of the McPherson High School swimming program over the past several years, has announced her resignation, effective at the end of the school year.
Fisher, who has coached the MHS girls for six years and the boys for five, will be moving to Colorado as her husband has been transferred by his employer, UPS.
Fisher said it will be difficult to leave a place that felt like home immediately when she arrived.
“Although I know that the move is important for my husband's career with UPS and my parents (who live in nearby Wyoming), I am leaving a much-loved community here,” she said. “Not just the swimming community, McPherson felt like home from the minute I drove into town in 2007.”
Fisher’s impact on youth swimming was immediate.
“From the very beginning I tried to increase the knowledge of the importance of swimming from a lifesaving skill to the joys of competition and benefits of being in the water from age 0 to age 90,” she said. “I have been blessed by the support of the swimming community and how hard all of the kids have swam for me and how supportive the parents have been, especially when we needed to raise money to save the high school teams.”
Fisher said one of the crown jewels during her tenure was the recent fundraising efforts for USD 418 teacher Mija Stockman, who was critically injured in a December auto accident.
“That whole experience brought us all together for a common cause,” she said. “I am very proud that our latest common goal was to raise money for the Mija Stockman Foundation. We had adult lap swimmers, age group swimmers and high school swimmers all together in the pool doing what they do best — raising money through our sport. Over $9,000 was raised through business sponsorships and the open hearts of people both in McPherson and Lindsborg.”
Fisher will best be remembered for getting the most out of limited squad sizes, not to mention MHS did not have a facility conducive to host a home meet.
“It has been exciting to see the rise in the quality of the high school programs,” she said. “Although our numbers remain low compared to other programs throughout the state, we always make a great showing at state. All but three of the high school boys’ team records have been broken, including the 200 free relay that just fell at state this past February. Winning the AVCTL Championship Meet in 2011 is one of those memories that will never fade for those boys. On the girls’ side, the AVCTL record for the 200 free relay we broke clear back in the first year that I coached, 2009, is still on the books.”
Fisher, who was named Kansas State High School Coach of the Year in 2011, was able to get the McPherson and Smoky Valley programs to come together so both could flourish.
“I am very proud to have been part of the co-op with Smoky Valley High School,” she said. “The girls that now drive 15 miles to get to practice every day have added such spirit and dedication to the program that I hope in years to come will continue to grow and to add members to the boys team as well.”
In addition to coaching McPherson High and Smoky Valley swimmers, Fisher has been coach of the McPherson Aquapups’ youth team and she is going to stay on this summer for her seventh and final season before leaving for Colorado.
“The hardest part about moving is leaving the younger swimmers,” Fisher said. “Not just the underclassmen at the high school, but also the ones from the Aquapups team that I have been anxiously awaiting their freshman year after starting swimming with me at the age of 8. Many of the age group swimmers that started in my backyard are now on the summer team and I had been looking forward to coaching them at the high school level.”
Fisher believes she has established a solid base for the program and hopes it will only continue to get better under the next coach.
“My hope is that the school board has been watching our progression over the time that I have been here and will search deeply for someone to take my place that really knows the sport and respects the value of teamwork,” she said.