Monadnock Profiles: Dick Cuddihee has taught a lot of kids to swim

  • Dick Cuddihee of Dublin has been leading the Peterborough Wave Swim Club for close to 25 years and is in his element patrolling the pool deck talking with swimmers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Dick Cuddihee of Dublin has been leading the Peterborough Wave Swim Club for close to 25 years and now has hos youngest daughter Stormie coaching alongside during the summer. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Dick Cuddihee of Dublin has been leading the Peterborough Wave Swim Club for close to 25 years and now has hos youngest daughter Stormie coaching alongside during the summer. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Dick Cuddihee of Dublin has been leading the Peterborough Wave Swim Club for close to 25 years and now has hos youngest daughter Stormie coaching alongside during the summer. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Dick Cuddihee of Dublin has been leading the Peterborough Wave Swim Club for close to 25 years and now has hos youngest daughter Stormie coaching alongside during the summer. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Dick Cuddihee. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/21/2019 5:30:10 PM
Modified: 8/21/2019 5:30:00 PM

It’s 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning and Dick Cuddihee is where he feels most comfortable.

The longtime head of the Peterborough Wave Swim Club is walking the cement deck of the Adams Playground pool, coaching swimmers and observing their morning workout, and talking what’s next across the water to his daughter Stormie, one of his assistants.

Every day is the same for Cuddihee during the summer months. Unless weather cancels practice, he’s at the pool from 7 to 8:30 a.m. – and then again in the evening for another hour and a half.

For some it may seem like a difficult schedule to adhere to on a daily basis, especially when you add in weekend meets that can take up most of the day, but for Cuddihee that’s just how its been for as long as he can remember – and the way he likes it.

“Its always been work and swim,” Cuddihee said.

After almost 25 years with the Wave, Cuddihee has seen countless children pass through the program, open to swimmers up to age 19. He has watched many of them grow from young kids who don’t know the first thing about competitive swimming to ones who go on to compete in college. And while Cuddihee feels its important that all children learn to swim, he knows that his job is more than teaching someone how to swim their very best for a specific distance.

“Watching them grow up and become successful and well rounded young men and women, it’s fun to watch,” Cuddihee said.

All three of his children have gone through the program and it’s why he originally got involved back in 1994. His son Bryan was swimming for the team and then head of the Peterborough Wave, Beth Corwin, was looking to take a step back.

“They had found no one to replace her,” Cuddihee said.

So he jumped on as an assistant and stayed on with her replacement that first winter. When they left, Cuddihee took over because he didn’t want to see the program end. And the rest is history.

“It was one of those circumstances where I had no interest in coming back and coaching swimming,” Cuddihee said. “But swimming makes such an impact on the kids and it was a matter of keeping it going.”

You see, Cuddihee was a swimmer on the original Wave team back in 1963, then known as the Peterborough Wave Swim Team, for its founder Terry Lowe.

“He had a great impact on my life,” Cuddihee said.

And once he got involved, Cuddihee saw he could do the same for other area children.

It hasn’t always been easy with the daily bookend schedule, changes in the sanctioned swimming landscape and seemingly endless paperwork, but what has kept him going all these years is what happens in the pool. Cuddihee thought he was going to hang up his straw hat, tank top and sunglasses – his signature attire – when Stormie aged out of the program, but hasn’t found the right time to step away.

“You get at it and it becomes a part of you,” he said.

He has taken a step back in recent years. He has some very capable assistants to handle working with the swimmers and although he can see the time when he passes it along nearing, Cuddihee hasn’t decided just when that will happen. There’s always that group of swimmers that he wants to see through to the end and then another that makes it so hard to walk away.

“Kids I taught to swim have had their kids swim for us,” he said.

It hasn’t always been easy with fluctuating numbers that cause costs to creep up.

“We do what we can to try and keep it going,” he said. “But it gets tougher each year.”

Over his two-plus decades, Cuddihee said he has tried to create a family atmosphere where all the swimmers are treated equally, whether they’re a state champion or the last one to touch the wall. It’s not about the times or the places, it’s about the experience and the lessons that being part of a team can provide.

“Everybody progresses at their own rate and it’s a sport that’s easy to emphasize that,” Cuddihee said.

He enjoyed the opportunity to go to the pool this year and coach alongside his youngest daughter.

“This summer has been really good because we’ve both been coming every morning,” Cuddihee said.

Cuddihee said his wife Wendy would tell you that he bleeds chlorine and it’s safe to say if that was possible, it would likely be the case.

“She says summer is here, see you in three months,” Cuddihee said.

After growing up in Peterborough and going to Springfield College, receiving a masters in health science, Cuddihee returned to the area in 1975 and created a successful construction business. He moved to Dublin in the early 1980s, building his own home, but is retired now and only does a few jobs for longtime customers.

Cuddihee describes himself as a homebody who enjoys walking and biking – and swimming, of course. He always thought doing a triathlon would be a good physical test, but the timing never worked out with his busy schedule.

While Wendy still works, the plan one day is to head to Maine for retirement. They want to travel and see parts of the country – when they’re not tied down to the swim season schedule.

He has three grandchildren and while you might think they’d be dynamos in the pool, one has taken up figure skating, another is a gymnast and the youngest isn’t quite old enough to compete yet.

With the summer season over, Cuddihee gets a little time to relax before the winter program resumes in October. But you better believe by next month, he’ll be ready to walk the pool deck and offer encouragement – where he feels right at home.


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