Girls swimming and diving: Skarie, Avant named new Perham-New York Mills coaches ahead of 2022 season

Courtnie Skarie and Mike Avant were named head and assistant coaches of the Perham-New York Mills girls swimming and diving team.

Courtney Skarie, left, and Mike Avant have been named the head and assistant swimming and diving coaches for the Perham-New York Mills swimming and diving team on Aug. 15, 2022.
Contributed / Perham Activities Department
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The Perham Activities Department announced the hiring of two new swimming and diving coaches for the 2022 sports season.

Pending the approval of the Independent School District 549 School Board, Perham Activities Director, Erin Anderson, named Courtney Skarie the head coach and Mike Avant the assistant coach after the resignation of head coach Jenson Grimley. Trent Swanson will stay on as a volunteer assistant coach.

Anderson said Grimley has been a wonderful advocate for boys and girls swimming during her time with the school district.

“She has been dedicated, invested and very giving of herself for the sake of the students and the programs,” Anderson said. “I am very thankful for her leadership over her years coaching the Yellowjackets and for all the ways she showed students that she valued them. She will be missed.”

Skarie takes over at the helm of the Yellowjackets but is no stranger to the Perham Swim Program. She has led the Lakes Area Penguin Swimmers since October of 2020 and is the Marketing and Aquatics Director for the Perham Area Community Center. She also served as the swim coach for the Monticello Swim Club in 2017-18.


“I’m excited for the Yellowjacket swimmers to welcome in Coach Skarie and for what she will bring to the table given her background and experience as both a swim competitor and a coach,” Anderson said. “Her enthusiasm and energy are evident, and she is someone who seems very driven to inspire her student-athletes to achieve success. I am excited to partner with her as she takes the reigns as our next head coach.”

Avant joins the program with a strong background in swimming as well. He served as a coach of the Northfield Bullsharks at Macalester College and a camp at St. Olaf College, along with extensive work as a trainer and fitness instructor.

“Avant is going to bring a very broad set of gifts to our swim programs. Like Coach Skarie, he has a competitive background in swimming and coaching and is also a professional trainer, so he has a wealth of knowledge for training our athletes,” Anderson said. “Mike is very driven and invested in the sport of swimming but has a deep understanding of what a great high school swim experience can and should be for our students. Coach Avant is a great addition to our team of coaches.”

Skarie and Avant were introduced to the team on Aug. 15, the first official day of swimming practice for the 2022 season.

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