Swimming has been a part of his life for more than half of it ever since his high school days at Des Moines Lincoln. Steven Jones has high school, college and more swimming experience and he wants to pass on his love of the sport.
“Swimming has always been my passion. I have been an assistant coach for Des Moines East the past two years and have coached at the YMCA the last six years in Ankeny,” Jones said. “I saw this as an opportunity to be a head coach of a high school swim team.”
The 1976 Des Moines Lincoln graduate was introduced as the new Newton/Colfax-Mingo/Pella Cardinal boys’ high school head coach on Oct. 14. Jones will hold his first official NCMP practice next Monday at the Newton YMCA.
“I’m excited about this opportunity. I’ve been swimming for 33 years. I knew Coach (Sarah) Patterson and she’s been here in Newton for a long time and a role model for coaches,” Jones said. “Because I have been a Y coach in Ankeny, I’m familiar with the Newton YMCA.”
Jones swam for Des Moines Lincoln and was the captain of his high school swim team his senior year. He took a year off from swimming and school “trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” Jones said.
“Talking to my father, who lived in Maryland at the time, I told him I wanted to be a cop. He said he would help me pursue that if I came out to live with him,” Jones said. “I moved to Maryland and went I got out there I found out a community college near my father had a pretty decent swim team.”
Jones went to Catonsville Community College in Maryland. He said in his second year — 1979 — he was a National Junior College Athletic Association national meet qualifier as their relay team finished 12th.
After earning an associates degree, Jones said he spent 12 years as a Maryland State Trooper. In 1990, he began swimming again in Maryland getting into open water swimming in rivers and the ocean.
“I was a member of a very strong Masters’ Team in Maryland. I moved back to Iowa in 2008 and was swimming at the Ankeny Y when the director asked if I ever considered coaching,” Jones said. “I decided I’d like to pass the love of the sport on and began coaching there.”
Jones said two years ago, he reached the 10,000-yard mark as a swimmer, which translates as swimming an average of a mile a day for 28 straight years.
“Having a male coach for a male team is important, I think. As a coach you teach not just the fundamentals of the sport but also integrity, sportsmanship, how to get along with people and how to be a team,” Jones said. “Swimming is a lifetime sport.”
Sarah Patterson has been the NCMP Aquagirls head coach for 27 years and stepped down this summer after three years as the NCMP boys’ head coach. Jones steps into the NCMP boys’ coach with second-year assistant coach Jenny Jensen, who has been the girls’ assistant coach with Patterson for four straight years.
“I’m fortunate that Jenny is staying on to help with the team this season. She will be directing our morning practices because of my job. I am a janitor at Ankeny High School and get off at 1:30 in the afternoon,” Jones said. “This will be my first combined (schools) team and I’ve heard of the strong parent support for the NCMP team.”
Jones said he worked in contract security for the first 10 years after moving back to Iowa. He was a teacher associate in special education then a custodian. He said he spent 33 years in law enforcement and security.
Jones has three grown children — a son and two daughters — and three grandchildren, who all live out of state.
“I know we have a smaller team than others and sure I want more numbers out but a team of 25 kids allows you to get to know the kids better. Also you get to spend more individual coaching time with them,” Jones said. “I’m excited to get the season underway.”
NCMP Cardinal boys’ swimming practices open Nov. 11 and the 2019-20 season opens on Nov. 26 against Ankeny Centennial at the Ankeny YMCA. NCMP has three home meets — Dec. 3 against Indianola, the NCMP Invitational on Dec. 7 and against Des Moines Lincoln on Dec. 17.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535