New aquatics director realizing her passion

By Kevin Devlin

She started her new position as the aquatic’s director for the South Boston Boys and Girls Club last February and is enjoying the experience. Her name is Chelsea Phelan.

Chelsea is the daughter of Thomas and Debbie Phelan. She also has an older brother named Thomas. She grew up in the city of Havre de Grace in the state of Maryland. Havre de Grace is located in Harford County at the mouth of the Susquehanna River and the head of Chesapeake Bay. The city is named after the French port city of Le Havre which was once called Le Havre de Grace.

Chelsea went to the local high school and played on the varsity soccer team for two seasons. After her first season she was selected as the “Most Improved Player.” She also played on the varsity lacrosse team for four years. She was selected as the team’s “Rookie of the Year” as a freshman and the team was regional champions in 2008.

“I like the wide open field in soccer,” she said. “…and being able to run up and down the field for a good workout. It’s a simple game to play. But lacrosse is a tougher sport. It’s more upbeat than soccer because you’re always passing (the ball) and hitting your opponents.”

Although Chelsea played recreational softball and then varsity lacrosse and soccer in high school, her true love was swimming. She started swimming when she was five years old at the local pool. She was on the varsity swim team for four years, and as a senior, was the team’s MVP, scoring more meet event points than any other swimmer. And, to top of a great career, she was the regional champion in the 100-yard butterfly event her senior year.

“I like to be in control of my own race,” she said. “It’s on me to get the job done. Swimming is an individual as well as a team sport because your teammates depend on you to do well but everything still falls on your shoulders.

“Swimming is a better workout than land sports,” she further stated. “You’re working every muscle, it’s a great workout, and it’s easier on the body.”

Chelsea graduated from high school in 2010 then attended Towson University (TU), a public university located in Baltimore County, Maryland. She studied sport’s management and graduated in 2014. Then, it was on to South Boston. As the aquatic’s director at the Club, Chelsea is in charge of the lifeguards, assists with the swim team, oversees the swim lessons program, and all other swim-related activities.

“I’ve been a lifeguard since I was fifteen,” she said. “I was also a manager at the local pool. I grew up at pools, it’s in my blood and I’m following this path.

“Along with Coach Mary Wilson, I want to build up the Club’s swim team,” she added. “We have about forty members now but I want to add on like the Charlestown club which has eighty swimmers.  I have a passion for swimming and I hope to see that passion in the kids too.


“I also want to offer more swimming lessons not just to club kids but to everyone in the community,” she concluded. “Living next to the ocean it’s important that everyone knows how to swim.”

Harry Duvall, the Executive Director of the South Boston Boys and Girls Club, is glad Chelsea decided to relocate farther north.

“She’s been great,” he said, “She’s got tremendous energy and has some great ideas. She’s very supportive of the swim team and the coaches, Mary Wilson and Shannon McGonagle.

“Chelsea has a strong commitment to the program,” he concluded. “She feels strongly about making sure not only that Club kids learn to swim, but for all others throughout the community to be offered the opportunity to learn how to swim.”