JACKSON BLEVINS ‘20 | STAFF WRITER • The Wabash College swim team entered a new era last week when William Bernhardt II was named the new Head Swimming Coach for the Little Giants. The ath- letic administration made a concert- ed effort to quickly fill the coaching void while finding a quality coach that could build and maintain a championship quality program, and they did just that.
“You do not want to sacrifice tim- ing for fit,” Director of Athletics Matthew Tanney ’05 said. “But with the team being in season and having their first meet at Purdue, we had to find a great coach, and I think we did just that. Will brings a lot of positive attributes to the position, as he’s familiar with Indiana and knows what it takes to be successful in our league.”
Bernhardt made coaching stops at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Buffalo, and last coached for North Coast Athletic Conference foe Wittenberg University before accepting the job at Wabash. Bernhardt graduated from Indiana University in 2002 with a degree in Kinesiology and also made a name for himself in the pool as a Big Ten Finalist in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. Bernhardt learned many things about Wabash through his tenure at Wittenberg and his first few weeks on campus.
“Seeing how Wabash raced over the last few years was very appeal- ing,” Bernhardt said. “I’m familiar with the NCAC having spent two years at Wittenberg, and it was easy
to see that Wabash was one of the higher level teams in the confer- ence. Last year we had a dual meet with Wabash, so it was easy to see this level of competitiveness in the guys I am coaching now. Our facili- ties are top notch. From top to bot- tom you’re not going to find better facilities in the country, and our pool is one of the better pools in the entire conference.”
“Seeing the guys compete at Purdue gave me a good chance
to observe them and gave me an understanding of what we need
to work on and how we are going to move forward as a program,” Bernhardt said. “One of our goals is to beat to DePauw in the conference meet this year. In the next few years, I want to be a national contender, top twenty in the country. I want individuals and relay teams to go to the national meet.”
A new coach can bring a fresh mindset and new philosophies to any team, and many swimmers and divers have felt the immediate impact that Coach Bernhardt has had on the team in only a few weeks of time.
“I think that his diverse experi- ence makes him incredibly fit for this job because he is able to change up training in a way that is both challenging and rewarding,” Hunter Jones ’20 said. “Coach Bernhardt is incredibly serious about represent- ing this team not just in competition but in practice and the way that we carry ourselves outside the pool. He’s working us hard inside the pool, but his efforts outside the pool to really set up a model for success are what I think will be the game changer this season. Wabash swim- ming has been on right on the edge of really breaking into the next level as a national contender, and I think that Coach Bernhardt is exactly the man that is going to make things happen.”
The swimming and diving team are hungry for success in this new era as they host the Indiana Division III Championships at 10 a.m.
this Saturday in the Class of 1950 Natatorium.