The Morning Swim Show, April 19, 2012: Matt Kredich Talks About Coaching Men and Women at Tennessee

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 19. ON today’s edition of The Morning Swim Show Matt Kredich talks about his strategy about combining the men’s and women’s teams at Tennessee one week after being named head coach of both squads.

Though Kredich has been coaching only women for 12 years, he is anxious to work with the men’s team at Tennessee, which he says has amazing potential. He discusses the differences between men and women in terms of approaching competition, and how he is working to gradually mix the teams together this summer. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Morning Swim Show Transcripts
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Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, April 19th, 2012. I am your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS Monitor today we’ll talk with Matt Kredich. He is now the Head Coach of the swim teams for the men and women at the University of Tennessee and Matt Kredich joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Knoxville. Coach, welcome back to the Morning Swim Show, how you’ve been?

Matt Kredich: Been great. It is great to be back. Thanks for having me.

Peter Busch: Well it looks like they threw a little bit more on your plate down there in Knoxville.

Matt Kredich: Yeah I was hungry. I needed more.

Peter Busch: Well you have been coaching the women for a long time and had some great success including 7th at this year’s NCAAs, but it is no secret the men’s program has fallen a bit behind, so there is a challenge in front of you for sure.

Matt Kredich: Yeah there is. Our men’s program has an incredibly storied history and in the last few years we have not lived up to the standard that I think was set, not only by the men’s swimming and diving team in the 70′s and 80′s but also just by Tennessee in general and with our new pool and with the success of the women’s team we have got our eyes on the top and I think we have got everything we need to get there.

Peter Busch: Now, is this a slow and steady approach or do you feel like you know in 2, 3 years you can be in the top 10?

Matt Kredich: Good question. I am not really putting a timeline on it. We got a lot of goals and we will start where we are. I mean our men’s team, it has I think a lot of ability, a lot of guys with some skills that I don’t really think have been brought out necessarily in their time in Tennessee, but that remains to be seen. I am not that familiar with them and so we could take some big steps forward next year in standings, but we could also take some big steps forward that you may not see like changes in culture, changes in attitude just changes in the way we approach things and, you know I am still I am in a really early processes of evaluating exactly where we are.

Peter Busch: When was the last time you coach guys?

Matt Kredich: Including Davis Tarwater?

Peter Busch: Well men’s team as a whole?

Matt Kredich: It was 2001 when I left Brown University and so that is about 12 years I guess.

Peter Busch: Big difference between coaching men’s and women’s team. What is it?

Matt Kredich: The suits. What the suits covered pretty much. You know I don’t– you know–

Peter Busch: I mean I guess I am asking or there are some skills that maybe you haven’t exercised in a while that now you are going to have to put back into play?

Matt Kredich: Yeah I’m sure there are. I am not sure I can really list what those are. However, yesterday’s practice I think is a good example. There was some competition in warm up that we haven’t seen on the women’s side, period. One of our guys. who will remain nameless. beat Kelsey Floyd in the first easy 400 and let her know about it, so that whole competitive element, I think the dynamic is going to change a little bit. And that is something that we always worked on with our women and not get on a soap box or anything but women are not encouraged to compete the same way that men are encouraged to compete from the time that their boys and girls.And so well we see by the time we are coaching the college level is in some ways the results of societal values for boys and girls in competition. Now, in swimming I mean I know that our clubs are all about creating competition and creating healthy ways of looking at competition, but there is still — it is not the only place that they are spending their time and then getting reinforced by a society in different ways for competing so if I am going to be really serious about coaching a men’s team and coaching a women’s team I have to recognize those differences in the way competition has been reinforced with them in the past. And then I have got to have an eye towards the way we want to view competition as competitive swimmers and divers and I think there are good ways and bad ways to do it.

Peter Busch: So I take it you have combined the program and make sure that by training together, you know a typical combined program?

Matt Kredich: Well you know we are doing this really slowly. I mean this happened last Thursday and our men’s and women’s schedules have been different all year. So what we have offered to do is still run this typical practice times for men and women but allow them to kind of crossover. So we had some guys in what would have been the women’s time slot yesterday.

Peter Busch: Interesting. Tell me about some of the kids that you know could have a real good summer and maybe run at the Olympic team?

Matt Kredich: On both women and men’s teams?

Peter Busch: Sure, yeah. Well including Davis.

Matt Kredich: Well Davis is training with Swim MAC and–

Peter Busch: Was he just there part time what was that? I remember he was there when we interviewed Jenny Connolly?

Matt Kredich: His family is still here in Knoxville so he comes by periodically and will train with us, and basically cause trouble, but on the women’s team I think we got 12 people going to Trials and people who have been in the top 8 at nationals before I think Ihave a real shot to make it and those people right now are Lindsay Gendron, Kelsey Floyd and Jenny Conolly and then that is the end not to say that other people don’t have that shot. Caroline Simmons is a first year in our program and she was top 8 at NCAA and her speed keeps coming, she is a great sprinter. But on the men’s side, Tristan Slater is a British swimmer and he did not make his team at Olympic Trials but I think he is going to be making some noise this summer for Great Britain and then for U.S Olympic trials Sam Rairden is a sophomore on our team who I think has a whole lot of upside. He has had a lot of success actually in the backstroke and the freestyle events and I think his fly is going to come along pretty well too, so we expect him to get second swims at Trials as well.

Peter Busch: Jenny Connolly was a senior right?

Matt Kredich: Correct.

Peter Busch: Big leader on the team. It is going to be tough to repeat the success next year on the women’s team at NCAA’s?

Matt Kredich: Well she is impossible to replace. She just thrown out so much in a way of competitiveness and of course the points that she scored. But we didn’t have a perfect meet at NCAA. I think we left swims and dives out there so the group that is coming back knows that we can be a lot better. We also have I think some outstanding can help us replace some of what we lose with Jenny on relays, but also just generally, but clearly we are going to have to have more people step up in order to be better and we have to put together a better team performance than we did this year in order to place higher than 7th. I think that is definitely what we are aiming to do.

Peter Busch: Well coach I see the kids warming up back there and I see our time is almost out on your hourglass so we will let you get to practice.

Matt Kredich: Thanks Peter. It has been a good time with you again. Thanks for the coverage.

Peter Busch: Nice to talk to you. Good luck in the new adventure.

Matt Kredich: All right. Thanks a lot.

Peter Busch: All right, that is Coach Matt Kredich joining us from the Knoxville today and that is it for today’s show. I am Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.

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