Ames High School swim coach Dan Flannery died Tuesday of a brain aneurysm, according to Ames Athletic Director Judge Johnston.
Flannery coached the boys swim team since 1998 and the girls swim team since 2002. During his time coaching the teams, his swimmers have broken 18 state records, and in 2018, both the girls and boys swim team won team titles, making Ames the third school in Iowa history to do so.
"Dan has an incredible passion for Ames High and built our swim program into something magical, I am incredibly saddened for his wife, children, and family, and our Ames High community," said Johnston in a press release. "His passing creates an incredible void across the swim community that will be felt for a long time. He was an incredible coach, but more importantly, an amazing person.”
Flannery was also a teacher at Ames High and, according to the press release, was loved by and made a positive impact on many students.
“Dan was Ames High Pride. He loved our students, our high school, and our community. This is a huge loss for not only our school community but the swimming community in Ames and across Iowa,” said Superintendent Jenny Risner in the press release. "Dan was committed to excellence in his program and his success speaks for itself. But what was even more impressive was his ability to build strong relationships with his student-athletes that lasted well beyond high school. He made those he coached better athletes and better people.”
Flannery also coached and impacted many Iowa State swimming and diving athletes over the years, and although the athletes were unable to be interviewed at the time, Iowa State swimming Head Coach Duane Sorenson released a statement on Twitter.
"Cyclone Nation and the swimming community are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Cyclone letterwinner Dan Flannery. Our deepest condolences to his wife Jodi and the family," Sorenson said. "Dan had a heart of gold and spent most of his early life in the pool competing and for over the past 20 years coaching on the deck of the sport he loved... His dedication, enthusiasm and passion while coaching young people was second to none. That showed up year after year with all of the success his teams achieved. We all will miss you Dan."
A former swimmer of Flannery's has set up a petition to name the Ames High School pool after Flannery, which you can find here.