The Morning Swim Show, June 14, 2012: Craig Nisgor's Redhawks Ready to Compete at Division I Level
-- June 14, 2012
PHOENIX, Arizona, June 14. THE swimming programs at Seattle University are primed to make their official Division I debut next season, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show head coach Craig Nisgor talks about the teams' progression since taking the job last year.
Nisgor also talks about his Olympic Trials qualifier, Kevlyn Richards, and how the teams have motivated themselves to make big impressions on the conference and national levels in the 2012-2013 season. Nisgor also talks about his career as a college coach and enjoyment he gets working with college-age swimmers. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, June 14th, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. In the FINIS Monitor today is Craig Nisgor, the Head Coach for the Seattle University Women's Swim Team. The Redhawks are preparing to be a full-fledged Division I program next season and Coach Nisgor joins us today from Seattle to talk about it. Coach welcome to the Morning Swim Show? How are you today?
Craig Nisgor: I am very well Jeff, thank you very much.
Jeff Commings: So congratulations on as I said being an official Division I program.
Craig Nisgor: Thank you.
Jeff Commings: So you just wrapped up your first season as head coach there, correct?
Craig Nisgor: Correct.
Jeff Commings: And I understand the team had to kind of follow some kind of NCAA rules while they transitioned from Division II to Division I, tell us more about that.
Craig Nisgor: Well the transition has really taken place over the past five years and this before I came in. Of course this being my first year, and with the men's and women's programs, the transition meant that even though we can compete the Division I level they could not qualify for the Division I championships, which was kind of interesting this year too because we were actually co-hosting the men's Division I championships even if we had had any of our swimmers make it they would unfortunately not havebeen able to go. But going into next season, now we are officially Division I and when we have swimmers qualify for the championships they will be able to go.
Jeff Commings: So yeah, that must have been tough for your swimmers to know that the NCAA's were right in their backyard and they couldn't have a chance to swim in it?
Craig Nisgor: There was a bit. I think, you know for a lot of them they knew this was the case when they came in, especially for our seniors who came in 4 years ago, but co-hosting men's championship is a great thing for us too because with everyone being down there -- the team actually worked the meet and they were timing, they were on deck, they were around the best of the best and actually you know it was a great thing because it opened a lot of their eyes to what it takes to be at that level.
Jeff Commings: Do you have any kids-- I know we are going to talk about one in particular, but do you have any kids who would have qualified for NCAA's this year?
Craig Nisgor: No, not this year. We have a couple that did make their B cuts, the provisional cuts, but no one would have made the meet this year.
Jeff Commings: Okay. So speaking of --I mentioned we are going to talk about one swimmer who has got to be a leader next season Kevlyn Richards?
Craig Nisgor: Correct Kevlyn.
Jeff Commings: She qualified for the Olympic trials in 100 breast kind of a last ditch effort. I know you coached some swimmers to trials before but I would imagine this one was extra special for you.
Craig Nisgor: Yeah. Definitely different. I mean I have been fortunate enough to have worked with you know some of the athletes at the highest level, the different jobs I have been in and that has been as an assistant coach. Now being a head coach and having a chance to work with his team and work with Kevlyn and for him to make the trial cut, it really kind of special and for her I mean it is an amazing thing because the biggest meet that she has ever computed in has been the conference championships and that is going toward the trials.
Jeff Commings: Yeah so you just skip right over sectional seniors she just said you know I have got my eyes on Olympic trials?
Craig Nisgor: Yes, I mean that was something that really happened. She got the mindset back in March and went to sectionals back in March and she did a great time there, she actually dropped a second and a half off her lifetime best and realized, "Now wait a minute. Trials is not that far away." Well it has been a 3 months process since that meet back in March well she finally got it and in 2 weeks we'll be in Omaha.
Jeff Commings: And do you have any other swimmers who are right on the cusp of qualifying?C
raig Nisgor: We have a few that were really close. They were within a couple of tenths you know maybe even a second where they actually got three people that were within a second, but when the season ended they decided to do some other things at this point and that is totally understandable for a long season going through stuff, but you know we have one going so that is what really matters at this moment.
Jeff Commings: I would imagine this really gives you and your team a boost going into this first official Division I season?
Craig Nisgor: I think it does. I mean there is no question that you know swimming up here in the Pacific Northwest, us being first of all the only Division I men's team in you know really within 5 states and the women's team only having a few teams up here in the Pacific Northwest that it really does give us a lot of legitimacy and people are starting to look Seattle U. I think in a different way which can help our program out in the future and that is something that we are really looking forward to.
Jeff Commings: Well speaking of that, really the only Division I men's and women's swimming program in Washington for that matter I mean except for I guess Washington State, does that really help you with recruiting especially for kids in the area who want to stay local?
Craig Nisgor: I think it does, but one of the things that I have actually realized Jeff coming in here is not everyone knows about Seattle U about being a Division I swim team so that is something that myself and my Assistant Katherine Kubancik are really working to make sure that we get out there and get the recruiting bug in everyone's ears. Needless to say with Kevlyn making trials, the emails that I got in the past couple of days for a lot of high-level recruits has been really exciting so a lot of people are seeing that and in the area there is no question I think people did know about Seattle U but did not realize that we were going to be a full-fledged Division I program and not realize the level that we are working to get this team to as well.
Jeff Commings: What goals do you have for the teams next season?
Craig Nisgor: I think we just got to be the best we can be. There was a lot of transition this year I mean the team has been through a lot in the past couple of seasons and this was a big transition you are getting things going. Well the goals are to you know to keep making an impact or the women are going to next year and while I jump in there and make things happen.
Jeff Commings: Now as you mentioned this is your first head coaching job. You spent all of your coaching career as an assistant coach of various universities, what does it feel like for you to finally be a head coach?
Craig Nisgor: It is a good feeling. I think that it is something you know that every assistant out there eventually wants to be a head coach and you hope to get on the right situation. For myself I was really fortunate of that with this position you know and men moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, a little bit different, but everything at Seattle U of course with the administration of course with the administration with the academics with everything that they have going on here. It is such a great place to be. It is so exciting to be able to start getting program going to direction we want it to and getting people out there that you know about the university and what you know we just have to offer.
Jeff Commings: And you pretty much had your entire coaching career at universities, what do you like about coaching college swimmers?
Craig Nisgor: It is just fun. There is no question there is definitely a different way you have to deal age groupers versus college swimmers, but I also love seeing that everyone at the end of their 4 years of college say it was worth it because it is something it is an invaluable experience that a lot of people talk about what you learn in the classroom and there is no question. I mean academics, everything is so important when you talk to a lot of you know former athletes or even people are still swimming and they will tell you they learn just as much about their education, about themselves in the pool as they did in the classroom. I think that is pretty amazing and something that is so exciting and so rewarding to be part of.
Jeff Commings: Well we talked about Kevlyn going to the Olympic trials. Tell us about some of those other swimmers that we should be looking out for next season?
Craig Nisgor: Well I think you know just really have to watch overall. There are a lot of people that are coming, up and coming. There is no question we have a very strong senior class that both on the men's side and women's side. We have school record holders in there. We also have a recruiting class coming in which one of the men that we have coming is actually a two-time senior national qualifier. So definitely stuff going in the right direction and to say I mean our men's class incredibly strong, our women's class incredibly strong coming in and I have a lot of high expectations out of you know, out of the team, the incoming class I think that just to see an overall great team performance in the upcoming year.
Jeff Commings: Well it says a lot that you can't really single out one person that it is the whole team that is going to be leading the charge, coach. Thank you so much for joining us and we look forward to hopefully seeing some of your swimmers, men and women, at the NCAA's next year.
Craig Nisgor: Thank you very much.
Jeff Commings: All right, that is Coach Craig Nisgor joining us on the Morning Swim Show and we invite you to join the conversation about topics discussed on today's show. Just go to our article about this show on swimmingworld.com or visit our Facebook posting. You can also tweet your thoughts to us on Twitter, our Twitter handle is @swimmingworld. That will do it for today's show. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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Courtesy of: Seattle University
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