Campus Life

Schori sees no limits

Peter Schori has no qualms about saying he has long coveted the head coaching position with the Pronghorns swim team. Similarly, he has no problem declaring that there are no limits to what this team can achieve.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be here," says Schori, who was born in Gainesville, Fla. but grew up primarily in Calgary. "I've wanted this job for a long time and I can't wait to see what we can do in the next few years."

Peter Schori
New head swim coach Peter Schori is enthused about the future of the Horns swimming program.

Schori comes to the U of L having worked wonders with the Marlin Aquatic Club in Medicine Hat the last 11 years. Schori had left an assistant's role with Calgary's Cascade Swim Club to go to Medicine Hat in 2001, seeking a head coaching position and smaller community to set down roots.

Since then, he has been busy putting the Marlin club on the map, producing elite level swimmers that included both world championship and Olympic participants.

"What we were able to do in Medicine Hat is pretty unique in terms of producing the high performance swimmers we did out of a tiny club and tiny town," says Schori. "I went in there with the belief, and I told them this, "You can get there from here, you don't have to be in Calgary", and they did. "Honest to goodness, I don't see a limit in terms of what we can accomplish here in Lethbridge."

Schori coveted the Horns job because it allows him to grow professionally and move into a high performance setting. His work in Medicine Hat was primarily with pre post-secondary swimmers and he's excited about the chance to work with young men and women.

"The facilities here are great, the size of the community is awesome and there's just a different feel to a university community than a city or town that does not have a university," he says.

His wife Staci (BFA '08, BEd '10) is a U of L alumna and the couple just recently welcomed daughter Willow into their lives.

A competitive swimmer growing up, Schori is quick to downplay his talents in the pool.

"My standard line is that if I get in the water I lose credibility," he deadpans, admitting that he actually fell just shy of a national caliber level.

What he learned as a swimmer who almost made it is reflective in the way he coaches today.

"I was good enough to understand the sport very well but I had my shortcomings, and I think if I'd had a little more support in terms of coaching, it would have helped me at the time," he says. "Some people can use the experience of going to an Olympics to help teach, whereas I can bring the experience of some of the things I struggled with to help teach."

Schori isn't blind to the challenges he faces. His Canada West rivals at the University of Calgary and University of British Columbia boast National Training Centres, while American colleges and universities have come into Lethbridge and wooed some of the best young swimmers away from the Horns program. But he's willing to fight the fight and believes the Horns can win a few battles along the way.

"It's tough when an American school can come here offering $120,000 in scholarship money but at the end of the day, that's just four years of schooling, and we can provide that too," Schori says. "We have everything we need here. What we need to do is convince the best student/athlete swimmers that this will be the environment that they can achieve their true potential."

This story first appeared in the September 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.