NSA swimming well under first-year coach

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lauren Keating, in her first year as Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s head swimming coach, wants to lead the team to success.

Keating is a Suffolk native and a recent graduate of Virginia Tech and is in her first year of being a head coach. The team has only taken part in two swim meets, but Keating feels her team has gotten off to a good start this year.

The team consists of a solid boys’ team that meshes well with a rising girls’ team.

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“I’m encouraged by the team we have this year,” Keating said. “They all work hard and encourage each other.”

For the boys’ team, NSA has been getting stand out performances from Nic Psimas. He has already qualified for states in the 100-meter fly. Junior Ian Lotz is the breaststroke swimmer for the team, and Keating has hopes that he will also make the state cut. Reid Stambaugh and Abram Maxwell, along with Lotz and Psimas, make up the 200-meter relay team that is expected to qualify for states at some point.

On the girls’ side, the 400-meter freestyle relay team looks to be a strength. It is led by Madi Wilson and Tori Psimas. Anna Grace Towler and Frances Hope round out the relay team that has qualified for states. There is also a good chance that the 200-meter freestyle team will make the state cut as well, as they sit 0.4 seconds away from the qualifying time.

Keating has a goal of having at least eight NSA swimmers reach the state meet.

“I think we can reach that goal and maybe even surpass it,” Keating said. “With our relay teams qualifying, that would put us closer to our goals. I’m hoping for some more swimmers to qualify in individual events as well.”

Everything has been mostly positive for NSA up to this point in the season, but there is always an adjustment period when programs are under new leadership. There are different coaching philosophies to adapt to, and there are players’ personalities that must be tailored to as well.

Keating mentioned at first it was a challenge understanding how different athletes work and the best ways to motivate them.

“I’ve made it a point to try my hardest to understand each athlete,” Keating said. “Each one of them is special, so you have to find that unique way to coach each one of them. So at times it is challenging to make sure you have that balance.”

NSA last swam in a meet on Dec. 9. In their last meet, the girls’ team placed first while the boys’ team placed fourth. The Saints have about seven more meets to compete in, and they will get back in action Friday against Cape Henry and Greenbrier Christian. The meet will be at the Suffolk YMCA and will start at 3:30 p.m.