BSN Sports Swim Team of the Week: Queens University Royals

Coming off of a dominant performance by both the men’s and women’s team at last month’s NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships, Queen’s University of Charlotte is this week’s BSN Sports Swim Team of the Week.

The Royals racked up the accolades in Indianapolis. They won a combined 23 events, set 11 NCAA Division II records, and earned 83 All-American honor. Senior Marius Kusch and freshman Polina Lapshina were named CSCAA Swimmers of the Meet. It was Kusch’s 3rd-straight honor, earned this year on the strength of four individual titles, including the 200 IM, 100 fly, 100 back, and 100 fly. Lapshine won three of the same events, but also won the 50 free instead of the 200 IM.

The net effect was that the Royals won their 5th-straight NCAA title for both the men and women, further cementing their position as the preeminent program in Division II.

Queens head coach Jeff Dugdale was named CSCAA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year, his 5thtime earning that honor. Dugdale has led the Queen’s program since it started in the 2010-2011, and the Royals have steadily improved under his leadership. BSN Sports Team Ambassador Jessica Hardy chatted with Dugdale after last month’s NCAA Championships to get a sense of how he’s guided Queens to such success.

Dugdale shared his coaching philosophy, which is described as using “the swimming platform and the virtues and values that come with that to build leaders for life..I pull heavily from my thirteen years of corporate experiences to help them identify the multiple daily occurrences that happen in their lives and walk them through how they can verbalize and differentiate themselves with those experiences.”

Just about any championship team is going to need to have a special kind of team chemistry, and despite the Royals’ relatively brief existence, Dugdale sees the team’s focus on its history as what sets its chemistry apart.

Our chemistry is special because we take the time to learn about our history and the people responsible for that history thus an immense sense of pride and ownership is built.  They become moral owners of the program thus will fight to maintain.

No matter how much success they’ve had any elite coach is still striving to learn and improve, and Dugdale is no exception. He mentioned that one area he’s been working on lately is balancing how to provide feedback to swimmers without providing too much or not enough. “I am reading and working with mentors to determine the balance between too little and too much.”

While every championship is exciting, Dugdale identified the Royals’ first team championship in 2015 as one of his favorite memories in his swimming career.

So much did not go the way we had planned (DQ then sickness) yet our team fought and clawed their way to best times or scoring positions not to be denied!

The Royals may be taking a bit of a hit with the loss of some seniors like Kusch, they continue to prove year-in and year-out that they are among the elite teams in the nation, and with a young core that remains, there seems to be no end in sight.

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