I met Chris Gaffney, the assistant Swim coach at British International School Phuket, just a few weeks before interviewing him for a piece I was doing on SwimmingWorldMagazine.com. As a fellow Jersey boy, we clicked immediately. His passion for coaching was evident from the get-go and I could tell he cared deeply about his athletes, most of whom were national team swimmers from Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Namibia and other countries.
He had only been in Thailand for a year, but you can tell he was made for coaching. And working underneath the program’s director and Head Coach, Simon Jones – a man with an impressive track record working with world-class athletes – Chris will only grow as a coach.
You never know what kind of adversity people pulled through. Behind Chris’ smile was the knowledge that he could take the worst of what life gives him and turn it around.
This is exactly what he did after he suffered through five major heart operations in a span of just four years.
Without giving too much of what’s in the article (which you can read here), at the age of 18 Chris collapsed on the pool deck during a training session. At the time, his dream of swimming for a NCAA Division 1 university seemed over.
Fortunately, some people took notice of his struggle and perseverance, of his audacity to continue swimming in the face of a potential health calamity. Positivity carried him through college and to a promising coaching career shaping future world champions in Thailand.
5 Heart Surgeries Not Enough to Stop Thailand’s Chris Gaffney – Swimming World Magazine – June 3 2015