Former Barracuda Swim Club Coach Anthony “TK” Kennedy passed away in Ontario, Canada, where he is from, at age 78.
He played a huge role in Barracuda’s rise in the swimming community, having coached athletes such as Sharon and Courtney Jones, Dorian and Cameron Roach, Nicola and Olivia McKinney, Patrick Stevenson and Sean Andrews.
Andrews reminisced about the impact that Kennedy had on swimming in The Bahamas.
“TK’s Barracuda teams of the ‘80s and ‘90s invoked huge rivalries with Andy Knowles’ Sea Bees and then SWIFT Swimming. Through the rivalries, we started qualifying much larger teams for the regional events, which directly points to his impact on the swimming scene,” Andrews said. He added that the coach was a mentor as he also helped him to strive to be his best in the pool and in life.
Nicola McKinney was under the tutelage of Kennedy from the age of 13 to until she left the island for tertiary education. She said under Kennedy, she spent about 15 hours per week in the pool to go along with strength training and also had a number of swim meets.
“He was completely dedicated to the sport, and to making it accessible to as many young Bahamians as possible. He was poolside all day every day, coaching, talking to swimmers and parents,” McKinney said. “He demanded our best effort, and never failed to get our attention to achieve it; whether that was by blaring terrible music during Saturday morning practices, or telling you that you needed to up your game by comparing your speed to his dead grandmother. He inspired us to think we could be better and compete on the international stage. There was no slacking in TK’s pool, and if you did you could expect a kickboard to come flying in your direction.”
In addition to coaching at the local club level, the Canadian also coached several Bahamian national teams including CARIFTA, CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Swimming Federation) Championships teams and CISC (Caribbean Island Swimming Championships) teams.
Both Andrews and McKinney were a part of several of those national teams.
Andrews said one of the most memorable moments in his 14-year tenure with Kennedy was receiving the Most Valuable Swimmer Award of the Barracuda Club a particular year and the verbiage he used to describe his performances that year.
In reaching out to the other swimmers of his time whom Kennedy coached, Andrews said that it is safe to say he touched each and every one of them in a positive manner.
Andrews and McKinney both spoke highly of their former coach’s legacy and that they are grateful to have had him as a coach.
Prior to his arrival in The Bahamas in the 1980s, Kennedy was a swim coach in his home country.