Capriles joins O’Donnell as co-head coach of SF swimming

St. Francis High recently promoted Catherine Capriles to co-head coach of the swim team, joining Terry O’Donnell in that role. She previously served as a varsity assistant.

Capriles, a standout swimmer for the Lancers, has been enshrined in the school’s athletic hall of fame. She won league and section titles before graduating in

“St. Francis High School is so excited to have Catherine step into this role at her alma mater,” director of athletics Michael Pilawski said in a press release issued by the school July 28. “She has such a passion for our school and swimming, and we are fortunate to have someone with her background around our student-athletes on a daily basis. Her knowledge and experience in the sport, combined with her love for our school, is contagious. She is an incredible role model, and we are so excited for the future.”

As a college swimmer at UCLA and then UC San Diego, Capriles was a four-time national champion.

She qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in 1984 and 1988; at the latter, she placed seventh in the 200-meter backstroke and 11th in the 200 individual medley.

After her swimming career, Capriles became a firefighter. She retired as deputy chief of the Palo Alto Fire Department in 2018.

Capriles started coaching at St. Francis in 2016, first as one of the coaches for the noncompetitive gold team. In 2018, she transitioned to varsity assistant.

The Mountain View resident now takes over for Terence O’Malley, who stepped down as co-head coach after the spring season and is no longer working at the school.

“I am honored and excited to carry on the championship tradition of this amazing swim program that Coach O’Malley and Coach O’Donnell have created over the last decade,” Capriles said in the release. “I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that await.”

Longtime coach O’Malley was named a Central Coast Section Honor Coach in 2018 for his work on the pool deck and in the community.

“St. Francis is forever grateful to Coach O’Malley and his leadership with our swim program,” Pilawski said in the relase. “Coach O’Malley has done an incredible job leading our program and helping all our student-athletes and coaches succeed on a daily basis. We wish Coach O’Malley and his family all the best in this next phase of their lives together.”

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