Girls’ Swim & Dive Welcomes New Head Coach

Adam Nowlin, Alex Gribb, and Laila Seddiki

Expectations are high for Creek’s swim and dive team coming off of their state win last year. But they are even higher for new coach Karin Olmstead.

Former coach Eric Craven started at Creek in 1991 with his employment lasting thirty years. Creek won a state championship last year, the fourteenth of Craven’s career at Creek.

Grabbing their second consecutive state title will require cohesiveness and a full effort from every swimmer, something Olmstead plans on implementing.

“Winning takes effort. Winning is not something you want to do, it’s something you have to do,” Olmstead said.

Olmstead was chosen in a unique evaluation process: athlete interviews. Different members of both the swim and dive team, including junior Katie Cohen, asked multiple candidates questions to narrow down the choices for the position.

“I think we mainly picked her because she was the assistant coach for the past two years,” Cohen said. “She really showed that she wants what’s best for all of us.”

Senior diver Payton Bolin wanted a coach that had two main qualities: someone that could laugh with her, but could also correct her mistakes.

 “Diving can be stressful if you don’t have someone to laugh with you,” Bolin said.

 For the athletes, the three main components that make Creek’s swim team successful is their cooperation, competitiveness, and community as a team.

 “We also wanted someone who valued competitiveness but didn’t want that to break everyone and make it the main focus of everything,” Cohen said.

Part of that community comes from unity, among not just one team, but all of them. This drove the idea for the removal of the JV2 team, which was there to help developing swimmers.

“I feel like it creates more team unity when you don’t have so many separate groups,” Olmstead said. “The way we can run practice, and it doesn’t have to be a one size fits all approach.”

Olmstead wants her athletes to have balance between enjoyment and winning, something that requires a coach that can help guide them to it.

“My other goal for this year is to have fun. Swimming fast is fun, but cheering your teammates on during practice is fun and it’s fun doing social events with the team.” Olmstead said.

Having her athletes develop a strong community is essential for Olmstead. She tries to accomplish this by promoting honesty and trust.

“If I looked up the definition of community, it says a unified body of individuals with common interest in a particular area,” Olmstead said. “It is my goal where we have trust and we’re honest with each other. We work hard and we’re accountable for each other.”

Olmstead isn’t just coaching swimmers, but divers too. Diving requires a lot of self trust, and differs from swimming in terms of the technical requirements of the sport. The Diving team at Creek has two new coaches, Tiffany Steinmetz and Megan Houston, that Olmstead hired specifically to train the diving team.

She wanted to make sure the whole program  was getting as much attention and training as possible. The divers are still adjusting to the change, but they’ve welcomed the addition of new coaches.

“Diving is very different from swimming,” Bolin said. “We have our own traditions that we’ve done in the past so doing team bonding has been a little strange.”

Steinmetz and Houston have been working hard alongside Olmstead to supply the diving team with the same resources that they give the swim team, so that the diving team can also reach their full potential.

“Tiffany and Megan have helped me so much and my dive scores are reflecting those benefits,” Bolin said. “They care about everyone on the team and want the best for everyone. All my dives have improved so much this year, and I actually have a chance of making it to State this year because of them.”

The combination of hard work, determination, and family, is what Olmstead believes will drive the renewal of the Swim & Dive team dynasty.

“Eric was a fantastic coach and losing him was a gigantic loss to the sport of swimming.”, Senior Brooke Murphy said. “But he retired at a good time and left us in good hands with Karin”.

 She began her journey a year after she graduated college, with a coaching position at Kenyon College. Here, she coached the team to four National Championships for the womens and mens team.

Olmstead took her coaching aspirations to the University of Louisville, a Division 1 school, where she coached alongside Arthur Albiero, who was an eighteen time All-American  swimmer from Oakland University. Louisville is now ranked thirteenth in the nation for women’s swimming in the nation.

“We built the team pretty much from the ground up,” Olmstead said. “We changed a lot about the culture.”

Olmstead views family dynamics as an important part of team development, so when she started to miss her family, she decided to come home.

 “My brother has three great kids and I was ready to be closer to home,” Olmstead said. “A couple years in, I was feeling the itch to coach again. I think the last few years as an assistant volunteer with Eric Craven just reminded me how much I love coaching.”

Olmstead wants to bring home Creek’s 28th State title in program history, and leave her own mark after the program spent thirty years under Coach Craven.

“When you’re an alumni who cares about the program, you’re more intent. involved and emotionally invested.” Olmstead said.

“Eric was a fantastic coach and losing him was a gigantic loss to the sport of swimming.”, Senior Brooke Murphy said. “But he retired at a good time and left us in good hands with Karin”.

Cohen also has ideas about what ideals an individual swimmer must have to insure success for the team and the coach.

“They want everyone to do their best and not just focus on themselves,” Cohen said. “They want everyone to be successful.”

Like Cohen, Olmstead has been able to apply similar principles to the swimmere to ensure as much success for the team as possible.

“I fell in love with this sport when I was a student here,” Olmstead said, who had graduated from CCHS back in 1996. “Creek has produced a lot of really good swimmers and high school is when I decided that I wanted to be a good swimmer.”

Having Olmstead as the new head coach stirred up a lot of emotions, especially for the current team. The swimmers and divers at Creek are dedicated to their sport, so they want to make sure they have a coach that will help them reach their goals.

“Diving personally for me is just chucking my body through the air and praying to land right in the water, while doing it gracefully,” Senior diver Payton Bolin said.

“I think [being head coach] is more exciting than terrifying,” Olmstead said. “ I’m confident in my knowledge of this, for what I want to do, and how I think we can make our team better, faster, and stronger.”