Andy McBride grew up with both a love of swimming and children.
As a teenager he taught swimming lessons as a summer job. His mother noticed how well he worked with the little ones and suggested he pursue an education career.
“It just kind of went from there,” McBride said.
McBride is the coach of Stratford High’s swim teams, and he was inducted into the South Carolina Swim Coaches Hall of Fame last semester.
The award recognizes McBride’s contributions to the sport of competitive swimming in the state. His career highlights include establishing and maintaining a swim team at Stratford High, accomplishing a personal goal of expanding the sport in Berkeley County, having students place in the top 10 at the state meet, and serving as a mentor to new coaches.
McBride was officially inducted on Oct. 10 during the 5A Girls State Meet at the North Charleston Aquatic Center. He was nominated for the award by other class 5A coaches in the state.
“I was extremeley surprised and very grateful,” he said. “It’s quite a recognition to have your peers say you’re doing a good job. It was pretty special.”
McBride started the Stratford High swim team with another coach in 1997. He took over the team seven years ago.
He has served his entire education career in BCSD, and he grew up in the district as well; he graduated from Goose Creek High. He swam for the College of Charleston, where he studied early childhood education.
In addition to coaching, McBride has taught kindergarten at Devon Forest Elementary for 33 years.
He actually retired last year but came back a month later to resume teaching and coaching.
“It’s just something I like doing,” he said. “It’s like a hobby. It’s a fun thing to do. I just love the kids, I love working.”
McBride’s swim teams had to follow new protocols and arrangements for practices and swim meets, but McBride said his students made it work. Stratford placed second in the region this school year and all of the students swam either their best times or better.
“We had a good season, the kids had a good time, everybody improved their times and no one really had any issues,” he said. “So it was really a good season all considering.”
McBride said he loves swimming and racing, describing competitive swimming as an individual sport in a team environment; everyone is in control of their own performance.
“Like in the classroom…I’m going to give you the tools, I’m going to be there and support you and help you,” he said. “If you put in that work then you’re going to see the growth, and I love seeing the kids and the swimmers achieve their goals and surprise themselves.”
In 2021, McBride is hopeful to get more children to try out for the swim team and enjoy the sport.
In addition to the athletic staff, McBride said Stratford High has a strong swimming community; he said he receives a lot of help from parents.
“You don’t get that in a lot of sports…but it’s quite different in swimming,” he said, adding, “It’s a great whole family environment.”
McBride is married to Cynthia McBride, an assistant principal at Cane Bay High. They have a son at Clemson and son who is a sophomore at Stratford – and also swims.
McBride has no immediate plans to retire again.
“I’m set for a while,” he said. “I’m going to keep doing this until I can’t.”