Swimming and Diving Head Coach
When visiting NSU’s main campus to interview for a position with the university’s new swimming and diving program, Hollie Bonewit-Cron saw the $7-million Aquatic Center and other facilities and was immediately blown away. Now, this new head coach is the one giving tours and selling top high school swimmers on a men’s and women’s program that will begin competition this fall.
“When I showed up on campus, I was stunned,” Bonewit-Cron said of her initial visit. “I tried to look at the university through the eyes of a recruit. I saw the Don Taft University Center and then went over to the pool, and by that point, I was sold. I felt confident a successful swim program could be built here.”
Bonewit-Cron is scouring the globe, recruiting swimmers from across the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America to build the initial swim teams, which will begin competing in the fall; divers will be added in 2011. Having coached at the University of Florida and the University of Miami, Bonewit-Cron feels she was given a head start on recruiting since she is familiar with the state’s swim clubs.
Bonewit-Cron’s previous success as a college coach—and as a competitor herself—has assured incoming swimmers that they will be in good hands. She was an All-American swimmer at Ohio University who competed in the Olympic trials. She spent six years at the University of Florida, from 2002 to 2008, as the assistant men’s and women’s swim coach. During her final season with the Gators, the women’s squad finished sixth, and the men were eighth at the NCAA Division I Championships. Bonewit-Cron helped guide one American and seven international male and female swimmers to the 2004 Olympic Games, where they earned one gold and one silver medal. She’s also been a volunteer assistant coach at Miami and an assistant coach at Georgia Southern University, where she began her coaching career.
Bonewit-Cron has a plan in place to reach similar levels of success at NSU. She expects both men’s and women’s squads to field between 16 and 20 swimmers in the Sharks’ first season of competition. With the first swim teams consisting primarily of freshmen straight from high school and some juniors transferring in, Bonewit-Cron wants to teach her young teams how to race on the college level.
“My goal is to make sure that our swimmers can race, that they are the ones fighting from start to finish to be the first ones on the wall,” she said. “I want the dual meets to be a learning experience.”
While the teams will still be in their infancy when they begin racing this October, Bonewit-Cron won’t shield them from tough competition. She plans to schedule dual meets with several NCAA Division I teams, even though NSU competes in Division II. Exposing her teams to that level of competition in the first year will help strengthen her team for future years.
With NSU becoming the fifth school in the Sunshine State Conference with a swimming and diving program, the conference plans to add championships for swimming and diving. Bonewit-Cron already has her sights set on an SSC title and beyond.
“Within the first three years of our program, winning the conference is absolutely within the realm of possibilities,” she said. After all, having some championship trophies to point out will only enhance the tours Bonewit-Cron gives to future classes of Sharks swimmers and divers.