Years of Fripp Island vacations convinced Mike Lane he wanted to live in the Lowcountry.
With the end of each trip, the Rhode Island native and longtime swim coach would begin the long drive back and dream of the chance to find work in the area.
After a missed opportunity the previous time the job came open, Lane landed his targeted position, this past week starting as head coach of Hilton Head Aquatics. Lane takes over for Jack Maddan, who left to coach a club team in Missouri.
Lane also will coach the swim teams at Hilton Head High, where Maddan was coach.
"When this opportunity came up, I just couldn't believe it," said Lane, a former competitive swimmer at the collegiate and Masters levels.
Lane coached 12 years at Brown University and four years as an assistant at Providence College while also coaching a club program. He started with H2A a week ago in Charlotte, returned to Hilton Head Island for three days of practice and returned to Charlotte, where H2A is represented at the Charlotte Ultraswim, a national meet featuring some of the country's top swimmers, including Michael Phelps.
H2A swimmers Courtney Collett and Camille Felix and former H2A swimmer Charlie Bolgan competed in the event, with each swimming three individual events. The group was scheduled to return to the island today.
After coaching all levels of competitive swimming, Lane said he wanted to narrow his focus to club-aged swimmers. His position at Hilton Head High will be his first time heading a high school program.
"What I hope to accomplish with all swimmers is to help them reach their full potential in the sport," Lane said. "I'll ask them what they're looking to do, and we'll sit down and make a plan for it. Basically, they're empowering themselves by setting the goals. I just try to help them create a path."
Lane's last competitive swim meet was 2006 at the Athena World Masters Championships. He has since picked up triathlons and the past two years has qualified for the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Fla. This past year, he finished top 30 in his age group and earned status as a USA Triathlon All-American.