Swim to success

Josh Horton, Staff Reporter

Misericordia University Athletic Director wanted to wait until he found the perfect fit before hiring a new swimming coach. He believes he found that in Matt VanDerMeid.

“You know we weren’t just looking for a swim coach,” Martin said. “There is much more to the job than coaching. We needed someone who could coach and be our director of aquatics and Matt (VanDerMeid) was the perfect fit for the job.”

This will be VanDerMeid’s first stint as a head coach after spending the past three years as an assistant swimming coach at SUNY-Geneseo. He comes from a solid program as the Knights have won three consecutive SUNYAC titles.

Martin has no doubt VanDerMeid’s success, as an assistant will translate well to the head coaching position.

“He was a 10-time All-American in swimming as a sprinter,” Martin said. “The last three years he has been a full time assistant coach at Geneseo where he ran all of their aquatics programs. He’s got the division-3 background, which is important.”

VanDerMeid won’t have any problem adjusting to the division-3 lifestyle as he enjoyed an abundance of success at Geneseo as a student athlete.

“He’s a 10-time All-American, obviously he knows what it takes to be successful in the pool,” Martin said. “Both of our men and women have been outstanding and he knows what we need to do to get to that next level.”

Martin feels VanDerMeid’s experience as a swimmer and as a coach will only help build an already prestigious Misericordia swimming program.

“I feel like we already have a fantastic program in place and we really are one of the top swim programs in the MAC,” Martin said. “With that being said, bringing in a guy like Matt will only make us even more of a presence in the conference. I am very excited for our swimmers.”

Junior swimmer Doug Ranson agrees with Martin about the state of the program and says the team as a whole is beginning to adjust to VanDerMeid’s philosophy.

“As a whole, our team was obviously anxious and hesistat at first with bringing in a new coach,” Ranson said. “But, not after a few weeks of practice, I’m pretty happy with the workouts. I definitely think that we are going to get faster and set ourselves up pretty nicely when MAC’s roll around in February.”

VanDerMeid comes from one of the toughest conferences in all of division-3 swimming and also one of the premier teams in the conference in Geneseo.

“Geneseo is the top program in the SUNY Conference,” Martin said. “So like I said before we are really getting a top guy here. He understands the division-3 philosophy, it’s rules in relations to recruiting and he knows how to train great swimmers and we couldn’t be happier with the pick.”

VanDerMeid replaces Jason Morini who left Misericordia following last season. Morini left the Cougars to become head swimming and diving coach of the SUNY-Brockport Golden Eagles.

VanDerMeid has big shoes to fill as Morini led the Cougars to a winning season in each of the last four years, as well as breaking 32 school records. After his eight year tenure Morini posted a record of 105-63. The men’s team finished second in the MAC Tournament last season, while the women finished third.

The men and women open up the 2012-2013 season on October 20th at home against the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks.