Former Norwich swimmer builds dynasty at Conestoga

Patrick Newell

Norwich graduate Rob Kirkby swam for Norwich High School some 30 years ago. After a continuing his swimming exploits in college, Kirkby soon became a swimming coach, and for the past 22 years has guided the Conestoga girls’ swimming program.
Last weekend, Kirkby’s team won its 11th consecutive Central League title, and earlier in the season, it reached 100 straight dual meet victories against league competition, a streak dating back to February of 2000.
Kirkby recently spoke to Swimming World Magazine about his accomplishments, and he also appears in a Mainline Video News video. “It’s been one win after another, and (the victories) just add up,” Kirkby said in his interview.
Kirkby swam in high school for retired NHS Physical Education teacher and swimming program founder, George Echentile. Like Echentile’s teams, the Conestoga mentor said that talent on his team comes and goes, but the strength of his squad has typically been its depth. He has remained as a coach on the high school level, he said, for the variety of athletes.
“You have your elite swimmers, swimmers that are improving, and sometimes you’re teaching kids how to swim,” Kirby said. “You have a whole range of dedicated athletes and good students. That’s probably the biggest reason (I am still a high school coach).”
An video interview of Kirkby appears at The interview with Kirkby starts at around the one-minute mark.