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Fuller hired as Bemidji boys head swim coach

BEMIDJI — Megan Fuller has been involved with the swimming programs in Bemidji since 2006, and she knows just about every swimmer who has hit the water during the past seven years.

“It seems as if I’ve been around forever,” Fuller said. “I’m surprised now when I meet a swimmer who I haven’t met before.”

That familiarity with the athletes and the various Bemidji swimming programs was a selling point when Fuller applied for the recently-vacated Bemidji High School boys swimming head coaching duties.

And late Monday the BHS officials were buyers as they hired Fuller for the position.

Fuller replaces Woody Leindecker, who resigned after nine years on the pool deck. Leindecker will continue to coach the Lumberjacks’ girls program, however.

“I’m very excited,” Fuller said of her new duties. “I’ve been coaching in Bemidji in some capacity since 2006 and have been an assistant with the boys varsity the past two years. I want to continue to be involved with the program and this (being named the head coach) is a good progression.”

Fuller inherits a team that will include a mix of veterans and youngsters and her goal is to make the most of each individual’s talents.

“One of our challenges will be getting into shape because, right now, we have only two kids in the water during the offseason,” Fuller said. “But we do have a very good group of sophomores who are strong swimmers. We also have some talented seniors so I think our team next year will be strong.”

Changing the mindset of the swimmers is among Fuller’s goals but she also knows swimming in Bemidji is not a full-time pursuit for most of the athletes.

“To be competitive at the state level swimming has to be a year-round deal, or at least more than just hitting the water during the high school season,” Fuller said. “We encourage kids to do that but right now we have very few boys who are year-round swimmers.

“I’d like to change that but at some point you have to take what you get and try to turn them into the best swimmers they can be,” Fuller continued. “A goal of mine is to maximize what we do have.”

Although Fuller has been involved with Bemidji swimming since 2006, this will be the first time she has been a head coach at the high school level. She knows challenges lie ahead. She also knows a strong support group is already in place.

“I’m a science teacher at the high school and that is a full-time job,” Fuller said. “It will be difficult for me to find the time to do everything the way I want to do it.

“But, if I ever get into a bind or need help with a practice or a lineup, I know that (assistant coach) Kristen (McRae) and Woody will be happy to help me and to answer my questions. I feel much more confident knowing that I have that support and that I’m not in this on my own.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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