On June 20, the Ames School Board voted to name the new pool at Ames High School the Dan Flannery Pool in honor of the longtime Ames High Swimming and Diving Coach who passed away in July 2020.
Flannery, one of the most accomplished high school swimming coaches in state history, had been the Ames High head girls swimming and diving coach since 2002 and had been leading the boys’ program since 1998. He has a resume that is unrivaled in the state of Iowa that includes nine total state championships in boys’ and girls’ swimming.
He was a prominent figure in the swimming community, not only in Ames but across the state. As an All-American swimmer at Johnston High School, Flannery swam at Iowa State University and served as a captain of the men’s swimming team and a member of the Big 8 championship squad in 1995. In 1998, he casually agreed to start coaching the boy’s program at Ames High but never saw it as a long-term commitment.
Since then, Flannery led Ames to an unprecedented run of success, especially on the girls’ side where they won four-straight titles from 2010-13 and again from 2015-18. Ames also placed second in 2014 and 2019. His eight state titles on the girls’ side are tied for the state record. Flannery also led the boys’ team to a championship in 2018, further solidifying himself as one of the top coaches in swimming state history. He effectively prepared Ames High athletes for collegiate swimming, helping many to compete in Division I, II, and III programs.
In 2018, Flannery was named the recipient of the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union’s Golden Plaque of Distinction Award. In November 2021, he was inducted into the Iowa High School Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the IGHSAU championships.
If you ask any of his former students or athletes, Coach Flannery’s legacy extends far beyond any awards or trophies. In a letter of support, Ames High swimmer Maddie Bro noted that “he sent all of us out into the world with more confidence, kindness, and compassion than what we had when we first set foot on the pool deck.”
“He just touched so many lives with the sheer numbers that he had every year out for his programs, both boys’ and girls’ swimming,” said former Ames High athletic director Judge Johnston when talking with the Des Moines Register. “The numbers were always so high because of the magnetism that the kids had towards Dan.”
He was the epitome of going above and beyond for his entire team. Any Ames High student who wanted to compete on the swimming team had a spot. “It didn’t matter if you were a star swimmer, star student, or neither, he gave the same attention and care to everyone,” said Bro. He cheered on “our personal victories of all kinds, even after we left the halls of Ames High.”
As an Ames High teacher, Flannery worked with students in the Alternative Learning Program and saw every student’s potential. Students loved him. He was calm, compassionate, and his ability to establish meaningful relationships with his students was one of the leading reasons why he made such a positive impact on the students who needed him the most.
In 2018, when the Ames community approved a bond referendum for a new high school, Dan was there from the beginning. Through his own swimming career, and that as a coach, he had been in nearly every high school and collegiate pool in Iowa and much of the midwest. During the design phase, he provided input on nearly every aspect of the pool construction prior to his passing away.
Now that the pool is nearly complete, the Ames School Board approved the naming of the pool at Ames High School the Dan Flannery Pool to memorialize his legacy and profound impact on students and the Ames community.