PHOENIX, Arizona, June 11. TYLER Fenwick discusses his return to the University of Tennessee as associate coach on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show.
Fenwick talks about the reasons why he could not pass up such a position in Knoxville, Tenn., despite three successful years coaching at the Mission Viejo Nadadores. In addition to returning to work with head coach Matt Kredich, Fenwick describes the venue additions and goal changes that have taken place since he was a graduate assistant. He also talks about his emotions on leaving a stellar group of distance swimmers in Mission Viejo immediately after the Olympic Trials. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: Today in the FINIS Monitor is Tyler Fenwick, who joins us from Mission Viejo, California. Hi, Tyler. How are you doing today?
Tyler Fenwick: Jeff, I'm doing great, little disappointed headed into work. I saw a cloud in the sky.
Jeff Commings: Well, you know, it's — we never have clouds in the sky here in Phoenix but, you know, when it's 111, it kinda, you know, takes away from that.
Tyler Fenwick: I hear you.
Jeff Commings: So I understand you got some big news to share. Tell us about it.
Tyler Fenwick: I do. I've been officially hired by Matt Kredich at the University of Tennessee, so I'll be taking over as associate coach starting the beginning of July. I'll be headed straight from U.S. Olympic Trials to Knoxville.
Jeff Commings: Wow, that's not even any downtime for you there.
Tyler Fenwick: Yeah, it's — we'll get right to it. There's a lot of work to be done but I'm pumped. It's kind of a homecoming for me. So I'm really excited.
Jeff Commings: Yeah. So, I can't imagine that was an easy decision to make because I know you were really excited about your work there in Mission Viejo, the improvements you've been making with your team there.
Tyler Fenwick: Absolutely. It's — Being able to work at Mission Viejo has been a dream come true. The opportunity to work with the men's national team and work with the group of athletes that I have has been absolutely fantastic. But, you know, after meeting with Coach Rose and meeting with Coach Shoulberg, they pretty much told me this is a once in a life opportunity, and I've gotta take advantage of it. And what I'm gonna miss, Mission Viejo, I can't tell you how supportive they've been and that makes it so much easier for me.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, and you're 31 years old. I mean, a lot of coaches your age would be just chomping at the bit to be able to take this, so I think if you'd said no, I think a lot of coaches your age would be kinda screaming at you right now.
Tyler Fenwick: Absolutely. I think I would have taken a lot of flak.
Jeff Commings: So, obviously, the lure of being associate coach at a major university at Tennessee was a factor in this decision, but what specifically convinced you that this would be a good move for you.
Tyler Fenwick: You know, I think, especially on the men's side, we kind of have a clean slate right now and there's a whole lot of opportunity there to take this program and turn it into a powerhouse and make this one of the programs in the country that top student athletes wanna go to. I think the chance to be able to work with athletes on the national and international level, at the — on the NCAA stage it was really attractive to me.
Jeff Commings: And, as you said earlier, it's gonna be a homecoming and just to let people know you previously coached there with Kredich on the women's team.
Tyler Fenwick: Yeah, I was Matt's graduate assistant and I also worked with the pro group with Tennessee Aquatics. So I worked with Christine Magnuson and I was primary coach for Davis Tarwater and so, I had some great times in Knoxville.
Jeff Commings: So you're going back to Knoxville, is there anything that's kind of you know that's changed since you were last there?
Tyler Fenwick: Oh, my goodness, Jeff. I flew in for an interview about two weeks ago and I could not believe the campus how much it's changed. It's totally being rebuilt. The — especially on the athletic side, the facilities that they're putting up right now are really second to none. I've had an opportunity to travel to most of the major universities in the U.S., and Tennessee is making a push to right up there with any of them. We've got three 50-meter pools right now, two indoor — a $30,000,000 brand new facility and then an outdoor 50-meter pool. They're building a brand new $30,000,000 weight room. It's unbelievable.Jeff Commings: Three fifty meter pools?
Tyler Fenwick: That's — I thought it was a luxury to have one 50-meter pool, but now we'll have — I'll have three at my disposal.
Jeff Commings: Well, I'll say that that's gotta be — gonna be a big recruiting tool for you when you start recruiting.
Tyler Fenwick: Absolutely. I can't wait to have the chance to bring kids in and show off the campus a bit. It's gonna be fun.
Jeff Commings: What's the goal for Tennessee, let's say, four years from now, not just for the women's team which is already doing so well but the men's team as well?
Tyler Fenwick: Yeah, Matt has done a fantastic job with the women's team. But, you know, four years from now we'd like to be competing in the top for NCAA championships, and I think that that's any goal. At the same time, I think that any great program isn't just going to focus on NCAA results but also U.S. National results. We wanna be putting young men in finals at U.S. nationals. We wanna be putting young men on international teams for the U.S. And that's something that's very important to me.
Jeff Commings: Speaking of kids on national teams, you got a couple — not just a couple — more than a couple of kids there in Mission Viejo we'll be watching at Trials. I would imagine it's gonna be pretty emotional watching them at Trials knowing that it's gonna be your final time working with them.
Tyler Fenwick: Absolutely. My boys have been tremendous. They inspired me every day. They're just fired up to work and they're great kids in the pool, out of the pool. They're fantastic in the classroom. And, yeah, I've been through a lot with them. I've had them since they were babies. And it will be emotional.
Jeff Commings: You gonna give those guys at Tennessee the same kind of set you gave at Mission Viejo? A hundred 100s on 1:10, I think it was.
Tyler Fenwick: I'm gonna be a little more restricted at Tennessee. I've got about 20 hours a week to work with. Here, I've got endless hours a week to work with. So I'm gonna have to tone it down a bit, but I promise you, they will be working.
Jeff Commings: Maybe just 50 100s on 1:10.
Tyler Fenwick: Yeah. We'll see what we can do. Maybe we'll put them on 1:05, save some time.
Jeff Commings: I like that idea. Final question, what do you think is the difference — will be the difference from you coaching college swimmers as supposed to age group swimmers, besides the time that you have?
Tyler Fenwick: Sure. I think that the one thing that you have in a college environment is, you know, parents are sending us their kids and I'm going to be responsible for them for four years. And so it's — I've got to play more of a role in their lives in terms of school and making sure they're keeping up with their studies, making sure that they have the support they need to excel in the classroom. I need to make sure they're eating right. I need to make sure that they're taking care of themselves, and that I'm putting them in the best position to be successful. College is where you start to become an adult and I'm going to have a major hand in that process, and I take that responsibility seriously. It's important.
Jeff Commings: Well, Tyler, I think it's gonna be a responsibility you'll handle well. We've seen you on deck doing real well with the kids in Mission Viejo. I can't imagine it's gonna be a difficult transition for you.
Tyler Fenwick: I appreciate it, Jeff.
Jeff Commings: All right, congratulations. We'll see you at Trials and on the deck later in Tennessee.
Tyler Fenwick: Sounds good. I'll talk to you.
Jeff Commings: All right, that's Tyler Fenwick joining us in the FINIS Monitor. Gonna be heading off — heading back to Knoxville in a few weeks. I'm Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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