Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Herd Swimming and Diving Team Welcomes New Coaching Staff

Looking at the Marshall University Swimming and Diving team back in March, certain factors would not have looked very promising.  Allegations of drug use followed by the abrupt resignations of head coach Russell Hunt left 27 female athletes abandoned, despite having their best winning season since joining Conference USA.  Today, as the upcoming 2012-2013 season approaches, it is safe to say that the program has made a ‘flip turn’ for the better.
Bill Tramel, 43, jumped on deck as Marshall University’s new swimming and diving coach in May of this year.  After two decades of NCAA Division I program involvement, including coaching the 2011-2012 Minnesota Golden Gopher women to a Big Ten Conference title and 11th place NCAA Championships finish, Tramel arrived in Huntington with high expectations.
“We’re going to work hard, and we’re going to be positive, but I’m coming there to win,” Tramel told HerdZone.  “I’m not coming to Marshall to babysit. We’re going to compete for the conference championship. That will be our first goal.”
Returning three-year head diving coach Jim Zagaria joined Tramel in the welcoming of the final addition to the Herd’s coaching staff, Sarah Woodbury, this past July.  Woodbury swam at Brigham Young University from 2004-2007, helping her team earn four-straight conference titles before going on to train with the New Zealand nation team after graduating in 2008. 
Woodbury also comes with some coaching experience under her belt, including serving a year as an assistant coach for the Stevens Institute of Technology and a season as an interim head coach at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.  Tramel told HerdZone that her previous role as a coach played a part in building one of the top Division III programs in the country.  He later added, “Her experience, maturity, and excitement will add to the passion we are creating at Marshall.”
The Herd will launch its 2012-2013 swimming and diving season by hosting the West Virginia games October 12, welcoming five other state schools to Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium.  Marshall will compete against Fairmont State, Davis and Elkins, West Virginia Wesleyan, Wheeling Jesuit, and last year’s event champion, West Virginia University.

Despite an impressive season record, the Herd finished only fifth out of six teams in the Conference USA women’s championships last year.  One can predict that this new assemblage of trainers and underdogs will show up at their first event together with something to prove; and the potential is unquestionably present.
Senior Vera Niemeyer will return to the water for the last time looking to close out her college career efficiently, currently holding the third best performance time in Marshall history in the 100-yard Backstroke, and sixth best in the 200-yard Backstroke.  Sophomore Kacey Preun, also holding several top ten all-time Marshall performance records including the 1000-yard Freestyle, 1650-yard Freestyle and 200-yard Breaststroke, will aim to make strides during her second season with the Thundering Herd.   
Other prospects include juniors Madison Lawhorn, who holds the third best all-time Marshall performance record in the 100-yard backstroke, and Sarah Kay, ranked sixth best in Marshall history in the 200-yard Butterfly.  Lauren Rone, a 2012 NCAA Zone Diving Championship participant, holds the best all-time 1-meter diving record in Marshall history and will look to finish her senior year with similar success.
The expectation of what the Herd will have to offer this year is inevitable, especially after coming off of last year’s on the rise seven dual meet winning season.  Now with the reinforcements of a fresh and eager coaching staff, fans can anticipate nothing less as they dive head first into a brand new start. 


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