A new atmosphere, attitude, and era will be ushered into the Cornell swimming program this season as Syracuse native John Holohan takes over the reins, as head coach of the women’s swim team. With an extensive background in coaching at both the collegiate and club levels, Holohan hopes to improve upon a program that finished eighth overall at the Ivy League championships last season.
"Coming to Cornell is simply a dream come true for me," Holohan said. "To be in a position where the institution and the fans are so supportive is really special."
Holohan’s coaching career has brought him in contact with some of the most talented athletes in the northeast, having served as an assistant swim coach at both LeMoyne College in Syracuse and Syracuse University. Most recently, Holohan was the head coach and director of the Syracuse Sharks, a nationally recognized club swimming organization that has produced the likes of Olympian Kim Black — a member of the United States‚ gold medal-winning freestyle relay team at Sydney in 2000.
Arriving at Cornell, Holohan is excited about tackling the challenges that lie ahead.
"I’m looking forward to working with such a great group of young women," he said. "They are an extremely well-motivated team who all want to become faster. Throughout the season we will emphasize attaining personal excellence, and I know we will come together and unify as a team in doing so."
As far as preparing for the season, Holohan plans to institute a training regimen with a focus on balancing the various commitments of his athletes’ lives. This holistic philosophy will include weekly heart rate analyses of the swimmers to determine the level of stress they may be under, and whether they need some time away from swimming.
"Too many coaches make the huge mistake of concentrating on swimming and swimming alone in a collegiate environment," Holohan said. "I’m going to want the team to be focused, yet also be aware of maintaining a balance in their lives."
Returning team members are also encouraged by the coaching change, as they try to put last season’s disappointments behind them.
"It is the breath of fresh air that the Cornell swim team definitely needed," sophomore free swimmer Holly Chance reflected. "He has aspirations and big goals for the team, and he will help us realize our potential."
Holohan asserts that the team’s motivation should be to improve each and every personal time, and he is confident that the Red will be far more competitive in the Ivy League this season.
"The ultimate goal is to win the Ivy League championship," he affirmed. "And to do that, I believe we should focus on improving each individual athlete in addition to promoting a sense of team unity."
Holohan also boasts a keen interest in developing athletes with the help of new technologies as well, including the use of underwater cameras to monitor stroke problems and technique. He has already had widespread experience pioneering this breakthrough field, having already utilized such cameras with his club swimmers.
"Hopefully we will be able to use this technology to point out errors in mechanics and analyze our strokes," he said.
Undoubtedly, the changes under Holohan will indeed breathe some much-needed life into the Cornell swim program. The squad opens the season with a home meet against Harvard on Nov. 15.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen