By Brandon Hensler
Nova Southeastern University had three of its best representing the school during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
Swim team member Esau Simpson competed for his home country of Grenada, coming in first in his heat in the 100-meter freestyle event. Although he didn’t advance to the semi-finals, Simpson was proud and honored to represent both Grenada and NSU in the games.
NSU’s Hollie Bonewit-Cron coached the team hailing from the southeastern Caribbean island chain. Bonewit-Cron is the first-ever head coach of NSU's new men's and women's swimming and diving program, which has already seen great success including both teams taking 2012 Sunshine State Championship (SSC) titles.
"This experience has already changed me as this level of competition only comes from constant, full-time dedication. Esau has exemplified this type of commitment in the two years that he has been with this program,” said Bonewit-Cron. “Esau went to the Olympic Games with a goal in mind and achieved that goal with a new Grenada National and Olympic record as well as a new NSU long-course record. This experience will only help me be a better coach for the swimmers here at NSU and to bring them to higher levels.”
A native of St. David’s, Grenada, Simpson trained six days a week at NSU with the Sharks Aquatic club team under Bonewit-Cron’s guidance. Simpson’s Monday through Saturday Olympic preparation regimen consisted of aerobic-based training, combined with speed and added power work.
"The opportunity to represent myself, my country as well as the Grenada Amateur Swimming Association, transformed the experience into a goal-seeking, pioneering trip,” said Simpson. “My talents as a swimmer have practically doubled in results and effort while training at and attending NSU. I will forever be grateful to my amazing collegiate team who supported myself and Coach Hollie during our summer endeavors. Without NSU swimming, I probably would not be the swimmer I am today.”
In addition to the swimming duo, Howard Layne, a physical therapy alumnus from NSU’s College of Health Care Sciences, was selected to be a volunteer physical therapist for the London Olympics. He worked exclusively in the men’s basketball venue helping team USA.
“Going to the Olympics in London was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of course I was nervous about going and whether my skills would be on par with ‘the rest of the world’,” said Layne, MPT, DPT.
“But the physical therapy skills that I learned while at NSU prepared me to be not just the best I could be, but a leader in the clinic and venue. In appreciation of my time and skills I was invited to a special meet and greet at the Team Great Britain House where I was able to meet many Olympians and medalists. The highlight of the evening was definitely meeting Prince William and his wife, Kate. When I speak to students at NSU or to people who ask me about the university, I tell them, ‘NSU took me to the Olympics. Where can NSU take you?’"
The opening ceremonies for the London 2012 Games were held on July 27. The games then ran for more than two weeks, with closing ceremonies held on August 12.