The Brock community mourns the loss of swimming legend, community builder – The Brock News

The Brock University community mourns the loss of retired swimming coach and aquatics manager Herb de Bray, who passed away on Saturday, September 16 at the age of 77.

For nearly three decades, de Bray played a critical role in developing the institution’s aquatics programs and facilities, setting an example of coaching excellence, tireless dedication to the sport and unwavering commitment to the community.

de Bray joined Brock in 1980 and under his guidance, the University’s $3.1 million swimming complex became a reality, providing opportunities for Brock students and the broader Niagara community to participate in aquatic activities.

His son, Benjamin de Bray (BA ’00, BA ’01, BEd ’05), is one of his athletes and an assistant coach at Brock. He said he is fortunate enough to witness the influence his father has on so many swimmers and teammates every day on campus.

“The Brock and Badgers community gave my father and our entire family a sense of belonging that remains with us today,” he said. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of a wonderful father, coach and colleague; however, we are comforted by the overwhelming support from the broad Brock community that Herb has been so proud of over the years.”

de Bray received the prestigious Petro-Canada Award for Coaching Excellence, presented by the Canadian Coaches Association, a testament to his guidance of athletes to World Record levels.

A tireless advocate for the growth and development of swimming in Canada, de Bray served as Vice President of the Canadian Amateur Swimming Association, where he spearheaded initiatives aimed at attracting more people to the sport.

His outstanding contributions to the world of swimming were recognized when he was inducted into the Swim Ontario Hall of Fame as a builder in 2015. In addition to coaching, de Bray also served as Sports Director for the Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled, highlighting his commitment to inclusivity and community involvement .

“Herb laid the foundation and served as the Badgers’ inaugural swim coach. For Herb, coaching is more than just performance; it was a journey of profound personal growth,” said Peter Bradstreet, who succeeded de Bray as coach of the Brock swim program. “Many athletes who were fortunate to be under his guidance emerged as better individuals. Although Herb’s death leaves a void that leaves many of them grieving, his legacy lives on through the enduring spirit of Badger swimming.”

A Celebration of Life is taking place on Sunday, September 24 at noon at the George Darte Funeral Home in St. Louis. Catharine.

Hadwin Floyd

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