New Pool Director Makes a Splash


Coming into the 2022-2023 school year, SHS has a new Aquatics Program Supervisor, who is replacing Sally MacLaren. MacLaren was the Pool Director and Girls Swim Coach for 19 years, from 2003 up until Oct. 1 of this year. Well-known for her influences and changes brought to the swim community, MacLaren’s retirement leaves a legacy to be carried by Heather Solis, the new Aquatic Program Supervisor and Co-head Coach of the Girls Swim Team.
Growing up in Stoughton, Solis was an active member of Stoughton athletics.
“Sally was my coach when I was in school. I swam my sophomore through senior year [with her as my coach],” Solis says.
While swimming—as well as playing lacrosse and volleyball—took up a large part of Solis’s high school career, she also coached for Stoughton’s Club Swimming Team.
“I started coaching in 2000 when I was a freshman in high school for the local STAR (Stoughton Aqua Racers) swim teams,” Soils says.
When she wasn’t coaching, Solis was battling a shoulder injury that made it difficult to continue her season.
“I swam part of my freshman year and tried again my junior year in college, but couldn’t get over the shoulder pain,” Solis says.
During Solis’s senior year in Stoughton, the pool wing was being built and was expected to be finished by the spring season.
“I remember watching this pool being built my senior year and wishing I could use it,” Solis says. “It was built in 2003 and opened in February of 2004, and our season ended in November of 2003.”
After graduating from UW La Crosse in 2008, Solis came back to SHS to be the Head Coach for the Boys Swim Team.
“I coached for the high school boys team ‘08, ‘09, [as] head coach, and Blaire Uphoff was my assistant coach,” Solis says.
After leaving the swim stage for a little over a decade, Solis returned to the coaching scene.
“I left for a while and then I came back in 2020, coached and ran aquatic stuff in Ohio and Northern Virginia,” Solis says.
Later on, Solis would come back to Stoughton to take over for MacLaren as the Aquatic Program Supervisor. As supervisor, Solis is in charge of all the behind the scenes work and making sure things run smoothly. A typical week is filled with much to do, but nothing Solis shies away from.
“Paperwork, running around making sure everything’s in line with the Cashiers Office, making sure all the lifeguards are okay, making sure the staff is covered for coaching, making sure all communication with staff is clear,” Solis says, describing some of her responsibilities as Aquatic Program Supervisor.
Another one of Solis’s responsibilities is to make sure pool scheduling has no issues, as there are many other activities other than just swim team.
“[I’m] kind of blending multiple groups into one space. We have water exercise, we have lap swim, we have clubs, we have the high school team, and then we have open swim,” Solis says. “It’s kind of like you have to figure out how to cut the pool up to accommodate all of them.”
Managing pool times, clubs, and teams isn’t the only thing on Solis’s mind. This year, she has some ideas on how the community could become a little more involved.
“I’m hoping to make the communication a little more [inclusive]. We have some bulletin boards and whatnot, and [I’m] trying to make sure the community knows what’s going on,” Solis says. “Making sure the [Girls Swim team] and everyone in the high school knows what’s available. I’m also trying trying to make some things more efficient such as the raptor tags, communication, and hopefully how we pay for things because right now we’re only cash and check. I’m trying to make the [aquatic center] as efficient and welcoming to the high school community as a whole.”
So far this season, Solis has been working on pushing athletes beyond what they think they’re capable of.
“A lot of the girls are getting season best times, and a lot of girls are also getting personal best times,” Solis says. “We keep track of them since they started swimming in high school and then for the season, too. A lot are improving, and they’re a very positive group of ladies.”