The Guilfordian

Filed under In Print, Sports

Herndon to lead women’s swimming team

The Guilford College women’s swimming team is diving into the 2018-2019 season with a new face leading the way. Brad Herndon was appointed the team’s head coach position by Guilford Athletic Director Sue Bower on Monday, Sept. 17.

Part of Bower’s mission when coming to Guilford was ensuring that each athletics team had filled a full-time coaching position. Herndon is the first full-time swim coach at the College since the program’s inception in 2004.

“[Herndon] familiarity with swimming in the Piedmont Triad and his experience as a former Division I swimmer will benefit Guilford’s team,” said Bower. “His addition to the staff and our partnership with the nationally renowned Greensboro Aquatic Center significantly strengthen our swimming program.”

Herndon graduated from East Carolina in 1993 where he served as a team captain of the swimming team. The health and physical education major lettered four years in swimming. He is USA Swimming Certified and earned a Level IV certification from the American Swimming Coaches Association in 2011.

The new coach came to the campus after serving as the Director of Swimming at the YMCA of Greensboro for seven years. Twenty swimmers from Herndon’s tenure have competed collegiately, including Guilford junior swimmer Carolyn O’Halloran.

“I have known coach Herndon since I was 15 years old,” O’Halloran said. “Throughout my swimming career Coach Herndon has always taught me how important it is to push through my weakest days to find my inner strength.”

While Herndon was at the YMCA of Greensboro, he guided his program to a YMCA national championship, 30 YMCA Championship finalists and 22 YMCA All-Americans.

No stranger to collegiate coaching, Herndon spent the 2005-2006 season as the head of neighboring Greensboro College. While there, he led the program to its first NCAA Championship qualification mark.

Guilford also reached a disclosed agreement with the Greensboro Aquatic Center, making the venue its official home pool for competitions and practices. Since 2012, the Greensboro Aquatic Center has been home to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships.

The GAC was also the host venue for the YMCA National Short Course Championships from 2012-2016, the 2013 Speedo Junior Winter National Championships, the 2013, 2014 and 2016 ACC Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, the 2014 USA Swimming AT&T Winter National Championships, the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships and the 2016 NCAA Division III Women’s & Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. The current, three-pool facility was recently approved to begin construction for a fourth pool, which is projected to be ready by June 2019.

Coach Herndon takes over the Quakers’ program, which has not seen a ton of success at ODAC Championships historically. Since the Guilford’s first ODAC Championship appearance, the Quakers have finished in the bottom three teams in the league.

Last season, the Quakers finished 12th in the conference. The team is very young with no seniors on the active roster. The team is currently comprised of six first-years, two sophomores and O’Halloran, the lone junior.

O’Halloran holds Guilford’s school records for the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle, as well as the second-best time for the 50-yard freestyle. O’Halloran accredits Herndon’s mentorship for part of her collegiate success.

“Our season has just started, and I can already feel as if my confidence has increased and my love and passion for swimming has grown,” O’Halloran said. “I believe he will do great things for the Guilford College swim team and help to increase our visibility in the community. I have already seen improvements in all of the girls on the team and that is directly related to Coach Herndon’s skills as a swim coach with his encouraging personality.”

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