Between his full-time job as a history teacher, two children 3 years old or younger at home and already coaching club swimming, John Sands wasn’t seeking to become a high school head coach.
But when Upper Arlington girls coach Dan Peterkoski resigned in March after a tremendously successful 17-year run, Sands had to reconsider.
“I don’t know that there are many high school jobs I’d have considered taking, but Upper Arlington is, I think, one of the powerhouses of Ohio swimming,” he said. “Anytime a job like UA opens, people will be interested.”
Sands’ hire, which is pending school board approval, was announced June 3.
Sands teaches AP history at Westerville North and coaches the New Albany Aquatics Club but has not led a high school program since 2014, when in his one season with the Granville girls, the Blue Aces finished fourth in the Division II state meet.
Sands, a 2004 graduate of Granville who won the 50-yard freestyle state championship as a senior and owned the nation’s fastest time in that event before going on to swim at North Carolina, coached Watterson in 2012-13.
Sands also will be head girls coach with the Upper Arlington Swim Club.
“They do things the right away at UA, from the administration to the parents and coaches and swimmers,” he said. “Swimming is a big deal at Upper Arlington and that shows in the level of athletes and success that come out of there.”
Peterkoski resigned March 6 after leading the Bears to 11 Division I state championships. Peterkoski, an eight-time state Coach of the Year honoree, also led the girls water polo team to 12 state titles, 17 league championships and 16 district titles.
This past winter, UA finished third (187 points) at state behind champion and OCC-Central Division rival Dublin Coffman (214) as 53 teams scored.
The Bears also extended their streak of league championships to 26.
Caitlain Spangler, a longtime swimming and water polo assistant coach, was named girls water polo coach in late April. Her hire also is pending school board approval.
Sands and his wife, Jenna, have two children, Eloise, 3, and Jack, 3 months.