We Are One

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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By Michael J. Stott

Morning prelims on the final day of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Championships feel a little bit like the last roundup. Much of the work has been done, yet much remains. In another sense, the meet serves as a reminder of the great resources available to any young or veteran coach, a collegial kinship in a profession known for its willingness to share.

If any of the coaches on deck are mortal enemies, it is not immediately apparent. Most always seem to have time for a comment, tip or observation indulging even the inquiring minds of reporters. Tennessee’s Matt Kredich, he of scientific mind, is happy to talk about the nuance of stroke. Bob Bowman discusses the benefits of assisted and resisted stretch cords in warmup. And if anyone is in dire need of a good laugh he may engage Georgia’s Jack Bauerle or trail the elusive Edwin C. Reese of Texas.

Need updates on the politics of the day? Check in with the CSCAA executive director Joel Shinofield. In his short tenure he has been a strong voice for the protection and preservation of college swimming. For a global view check in with American Swimming Coaches Association exec John Leonard. He has thoughts on all things aquatic, especially regarding global governance and the impending Olympic Games. Leonard and his organization, with more than 10,000 members worldwide remains a central source for coaching and training materials. Their files are a repository of important documents extending back more than 40 years.

By the announcer’s stand, USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch lingers revelling in the some of the week’s finer performances and what they portend for Olympic Trials in Omaha. Ryan Murphy, despite his stellar 53.49 American record in the 100 yard backstroke and 20.20 back leadoff on the 200 medley relay, stated clearly Friday night that all his focus this year has been for a sterling long course effort in August after a fifth place at Kazan World’s left him “pretty pissed.”

And has a Busch smile been ever wider as he watched Longhorn Townley Haas, a strong candidate for swimmer of the meet, eviscerate (1:30.46) Simon Burnett’s near sacred 200 free time of 1:31.20 when Busch was his coach in 2006 at Arizona.

On deck in an officiating capacity and in the stands are many members of the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association, a coaching and leadership cadre for millions of high school swimmers. This year in Atlanta, NISCA is celebrating its 83rd annual meeting, a convocation that brings together a leadership core that oversees and acts as caretaker for institutions held dear by secondary school coaches, i.e.: All-American rankings, Academic All-American and Team Scholar listings, National Dual Meet standings (power points), etc. Presidents Arvel McElroy and Mark Onstott represent the recent leadership, ably assisted by the likes of former president Dana Abbott and company.

A walk through the stands turns up the smiling faces of now retired Ann Arbor Pioneer coaches Liz and Dennis Hill, winners of more than 30 Michigan state championships. Lest we forget they coached Kara Lynn Joyce to her longstanding 22.04 50 free national high school record.

So we, a united aquatic society, are here for Day Four prelims. Announcer Sam Kendricks is ready; swimmers are poised. We await the gun.