Alyson O'Connor, Astoria swimming

Alyson O’Connor, second from right, is the new coach for the Astoria swim team.

Alyson O’Connor has been named the new head coach for the Astoria High School swim team, athletic director Howard Rub announced on Monday.

O’Connor has been active with the North Coast Swim Club for the past six years and served as the Astoria assistant coach last season under coach Kathryn Zacher.

“Coach O’Connor has shown great expertise as the coordinator of our dry land program,” said Rub, as the Astoria swim team has been holding workouts at CMH Field during the closure of the Astoria Aquatic Center.

“Our student-athletes appreciate her background in cross training, which includes her training as a distance runner and triathlon competitor,” Rub said. “She has a great rapport with our swimmers, she is a solid motivator, and I believe her to be a great role model.”

O’Connor’s reputation for community service as an Astoria resident over the past 20 years is impressive, he added. Also, “We are greatly appreciative of the efforts of coach Zacher and coach (Mike) Gwaltney the past few years, and believe the mentoring they have provided to coach O’Connor will help us in this transition.”

The winter sports season is still scheduled to begin with practices in late December, with games and events beginning the first week of January.

“With the uncertainty of when our next competitive season will be able to take place, I think it is very important for our swim team student-athletes that we have this position filled with our best possible candidate,” Rub said. Fortunately, O’Connor “happens to be very familiar with their personalities, goals and desires.”

The status of the upcoming swim season will be announced after the next OSAA executive board meeting, scheduled for Dec. 7.

The reopening of the aquatic center is still under review by the city. No date is set for a return to normal operations.

Astoria’s swim team will continue to practice at CMH Field with conditioning every Tuesday and Thursday (no session on Thanksgiving), from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m., until mid-December.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or