Jenks Swim Coach Retiring After 40 Years, 28 State Titles

Tuesday, May 1st 2018, 5:18 am
By: Jonathan Huskey

Few times at the high school level do you see a coach hold the same position for 40 years, but that's exactly what happened with Jenks swimming coach John Turner. 

"Has not sunk in yet, and I'm sure it won't until September next year," said retiring Jenks swim coach John Turner. 

That will be the first September Turner won't spend poolside in nearly half a century. The long-time coach announced his retirement last week.

 "We have a lot of power coming back next year for the boys, and our girls should place significantly better too, and I didn't want to leave unless we had something like that to leave," he said.

Turner came to Jenks in 1978 to coach the Trojan Aquatic Club Team. He took over at the high school four years later and has been there ever since.

It's a run that's included 28 state titles between the boys and girls, and nine straight for the guys from 1996 to 2004.

"We try to make it a family, and that's the key, to me, because when we get to a close meet, then it gives them an advantage," the coach said.

You might think that, after all the success that Coach Turner has had over the course of his career, that he was meant to be a swim coach, and always was involved in the sport. But, that wasn't really the case. In fact, he got into swimming almost out of necessity.

"I intended to be just like my dad and be a football and track coach, so I was drug into the swimming world kicking and screaming," Turner said.

"School's placement bureau called me over and said we have a job for you. I said, good, I need one. I went over there and it's a swim coaching job. I went, a what?" he said.

But it turns out, he was hooked - and it looks like it's worked out OK.

"Kids don't care what you know, until they know how much you care, and that's just the way I've always felt about it," said Jenks swim coach John Turner, retiring after 40 years and 28 state titles.