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After an extensive search process, Dickinson Swimming hired previous assistant coach Katie McArdle to take over as head coach of the team. After Paul Richards retired and left behind an incredible legacy, the team needed a strong leader to step in and take over. Katie McArdle has taken over the team and has had to do it in one of the most difficult times the team has faced to date.
Throughout the course of moving to remote in the fall semester and working through options in the spring, McArdle has been faced with a variety of difficult tasks to tackle to keep the team together as a cohesive unit and moving forward on the same page as she did not have as much of a chance to build a base with the team before everyone was in various directions and locations.
“The most challenging aspect of becoming a head coach at this time is building relationships with our student-athletes. Perhaps most obviously, right now we’re all missing the typical give-and-take that happens on the pool deck during technique and conditioning work as well as meets” McArdle said.
These are many obstacles to overcome as a team and McArdle has worked hard to keep the team together through activities such as weekend team game nights, team discussions about inclusion and anti-racism, Motivation Monday emails to provide encouragement to the team, and a variety of other bonding activities.
Although these activities have been effective, everyone is looking forward to the future of the team and what is to come once they are back on campus at an unknown time in the future.
“It’s been great getting to know coach Katie. I can tell that she has a real passion for the sport and for us. I’m very excited to get back on campus and spend more time together with her as a team that isn’t through a screen” said Reid Schattgen ’23.
This sentiment was reflected by Kelly Hester ’22, a current captain. “I’d say while I thought it’d be stressful, it’s refreshing and kind of fun to see some aspects of the program changing for the better,” Hester said.
Zoom fatigue has hit every athlete on the team but Coach McArdle has worked hard to keep the team unified as we move forward. The team looks positively towards the future. “Thankfully Coach Katie has been a rock that the team can rely upon and I can’t wait to see that translate into the pool” Maddie Littlepage ’21 highlighted in her sentiment.