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Swim team alumni looks to honor coach Dan Flannery

"Dan Flannery made Ames the swimming dynasty that it is," Maddie Bro, a former swimmer, said.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Some alumni of Ames High School are coming together to try and get the school's pool named after the former swim coach. 

Dan Flannery started coaching the swim team at the high school in 1998 for the boys, and became the girls head coach in 2002.

During his last 10 years, the Little Cyclones won eight-team state championships and he held that position until he died in 2020 of a brain aneurysm.

"He was one of the best people you'd ever meet," Maddie Bro, a former swim team member at Ames High School, said. 

Bro met Flannery when she was a 13-year-old member of the Ames Golf and Country Club Swim Team. 

After the swim coach died, the former student said she and other alumni started working to get the school pool named after him. 

She wrote a letter to the editor of the Ames Tribune and spoke on behalf of him at a school board work session.

Bro also said their group submitted his name to the school district for consideration for the naming. 

Under Ames Community School District code 801.5.E, Naming New Facilities, it states for a subunit to be considered for being named after someone, that person must have been dead or retired for at least one year.

Bro said after the name was submitted, she never heard anything back from the school district on if any decision was being made.

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"Dan Flannery made Ames the swimming dynasty that it is," Bro said. "Of course, teams are greater than the sum of their parts but without Dan, I wholeheartedly believe that the girls wouldn't have won."

She is asking community members to sign a petition showing the school district people want the change.

Local 5 reached out to the school district for comment asking if they knew about this. Their director of communications, Eric Smidt,  sent this in response:

"We are aware of interest in naming the new Ames High pool in honor of our long-time Ames High swimming coach Dan Flannery. 

Naming decisions are governed by school board policy. That particular policy is one that is being reviewed this year, a process that has already started. The naming of a facility is a celebration for any community, including in Ames, and we will follow the process outlined in the updated policy when it is complete."

Bro said she plans to speak at an upcoming school board meeting about this matter and hopes to hear a decision soon after that, because Ames' new high school is scheduled to open in the Fall.

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