Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Coach Walton in new waters at North Penn

Kate Miller
Coach Andrew Walton in his new environment, the Rich Carroll Natatorium at North Penn HS.

What do a team of champions, a group of dedicated athletes, and a family gathered together all have in common? They’re all members of the North Penn swim team. The swim team begins their 2023 season under new leadership–the leadership of Mr. Andrew Walton.

New head coach Andrew Walton dives head first into the North Penn swim team as he begins training them for their 2023 season. Although Walton is new to North Penn, he is no stranger to the world of swimming.

“I was a swimmer in high school and I also played water polo at Souderton. When I went to college at Shippensburg University I continued to swim throughout the years. When I started my student teaching at Hatboro-Horsham is actually when I started coaching their team and I’ve been coaching there as both an assistant and head coach for the past 16 years,” Walton shared. 

Despite the fact that he is not a North Penn alumni, Walton is a familiar face around the Lansdale Area. Walton has both taught at and attended several surrounding school districts such as Souderton and Upper Moreland. Walton plans to officially join the North Penn family towards the end of December, when he will begin a teaching position at Penndale Middle School.

“I’m semi-local, I went to Souderton High School and I’ve been teaching at Upper Moreland High School for the past 16 years. I’ve been coaching swimming at Hatboro Horsham for those 16 years as well. I teach science, right now I’m teaching environmental science and then  I’ll actually be teaching math the first of the year at Penndale Middle School. Eventually I’ll be teaching science here at the high school,” Walton explained. “I think it’s important to be part of the North Penn community and the district, not just the coach. It helps build stronger connections with the students and the team.”

Walton agrees that working with the swim team is the opportunity of a lifetime. The team has built a rather large reputation in the swimming community and Walton plans to continue their legacy for the years that follow.

“The swim team opportunity is really an incredible one. To work with this kind of talent and the great accomplishments that North Penn has had over the years is unreal.  The ability to work with the swimming department is a great opportunity for me,” Walton stated. “I’m really excited to build the tradition here and continue that tradition at North Penn. The talent level here is unbelievable and I’m excited to help them believe in the things they can do and hopefully achieve amazing things while building that community. I think that swimmers especially can be a very tight knit group, so building that encouragement and support for each other is such an important part of being a successful team.”

From the start of his career, Walton has always prioritized the connection he has with not only his athletes, but his students as well.

“On the teaching end of things, I just really love the connection with students and being able to get to know the people. Some of the things I really try to focus on as a teacher and a coach is being that encouraging and motivating person to help people believe in themselves and help them achieve those goals that they don’t truly believe they can do. I had a swimmer a couple years ago who came to me at the beginning of the season and said that they had the thought they had a chance to break a national record and as we trained through the season I helped him believe that he really could and we actually ended up breaking the age group record,” Walton revealed. “He came to me after and said, ‘I didn’t think I could actually do that. It was just a dream and you actually helped me make it possible.’”

Walton grew up in a home where structure was the key to success. Although structure is an important part of life, Walton believes that there’s much more needed to foster a successful and inspiring team.

“So my dad was a marine when I was growing up so a lot of my earlier background was very structured. To me that structure is really important, but you need more than a structure. The caring part of things is so important because when you feel like you belong, it’s amazing the things you can do when you actually feel accepted and encouraged to be yourself,” Walton shared.

With their daunting practice schedule, practicing on upwards of 6 days a week, the swimmers practically see their teammates as family more than the people they live with.

“We spend a lot of time together and just like a family, there’s issues that come about. It’s like having brothers and sisters, you love them sometimes and you hate them sometimes,” Walton said.

Walton hopes that the team will continue to work together throughout the season to strengthen their bond and create a welcoming environment.

“In the classroom or in the pool, if you’re part of my class or my team it’s a safe place where you belong. We’re accepting of people there and encouraging and just trying to get the best out of people. It makes you successful in the classroom, in the pool, and really in life in general to find those people you belong with and be accepted,” Walton shared.

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    Jane R KaufmannDec 13, 2023 at 10:41 am

    That’s quite a list of accomplishments, Andrew! Wishing you the best of luck and success in your new pursuits. You get five stars from your Cousins Jane & George