Coach of the Year: RM Swim Team shines under Coach Gandhi’s leadership

Coach Gandhi celebrates winning the state title with his team.
Coach Gandhi celebrates winning the state title with his team.
Courtesy of Livia Venditti

The Richard Montgomery swim team, typically not considered a popular sport, had an exceptional year. The boys placed fifth in the state and had an outstanding season, but the girls team truly stole the spotlight. The girls’ team not only won the regional championship but also brought home a state title for RM. They also achieved a rare victory at the Metros, a meet involving both public and private schools. Public school victories at this meet are uncommon, with Sherwood being the last to win in 2018. Despite the challenges faced when competing against private schools, the team persevered and emerged victorious. Throughout their journey to the state championship, many swimmers broke records and set impressive times.

Much of the credit for the team’s success goes to their coach, Akshay Gandhi. With nearly 15 years of experience in swimming and coaching at various levels, Mr. Gandhi has spent the last four years at RM, where he has produced numerous collegiate athletes and secured both a Metro Championship and a State Championship. Beyond his role as a coach, Mr. Gandhi is a beloved chemistry teacher, admired by students across the school. He brought his energy and commitment to every meeting. “Throughout the season, Mr. Gandhi’s positive attitude motivated the team to do the best they could and have fun,” said junior Madison Heitzmann. He not only led the team to victory but also made the sport enjoyable for everyone involved.

A key aspect of Mr. Gandhi’s coaching greatness is his ability to make the sport enjoyable for his athletes. “Mr. Gandhi always does the most to bring us together and support the team, whether that be giving pep talks or bleaching and buzzing his hair for motivation,” junior Kiana Alguard said. His high spirits and motivational pep talks energized the team before every meet. “He also encouraged everyone to cheer and motivate each other, which kept the energy high at the meets,” Alguard said. This high energy was instrumental in helping the team achieve a rare public school victory at the Metros.

Throughout the playoffs, Mr. Gandhi maintained the team’s high energy and encouragement. His dedication even extended to bleaching and buzzing his hair to inspire the swimmers. His unmatched commitment to the program and dedication to helping his swimmers reach their full potential were key reasons for the RM girls’ swimming team’s success.

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Many students at RM believe Mr. Gandhi deserves to be named Coach of the Year for 2023-2024. His athletes saw firsthand his commitment to the sport and how he made being on the team more enjoyable. “He made being on the team so much more fun,” Alguard. His sacrifices, motivational speeches and full commitment to the team were instrumental in their historic victory at the Metros. Despite students being busy with other extracurricular activities, schoolwork and personal lives, Mr. Gandhi’s ability to foster unity was crucial to their success. In high school sports, bringing a team together and creating a strong bond is challenging, but Mr. Gandhi managed to do it effectively.


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