Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
It had been almost a decade of dominance for Virginia in the women’s ACC. But coach Braden Holloway‘s NC State Wolfpack ended that run in dramatic fashion, giving NC State its first ACC title since 1980.
That follows a similar rise for the NC State men, who are the two-time defending ACC champs after their own long title drought. Holloway is currently one of the fastest-rising coaches nationwide and everything in Raleigh seems to be firing on all cylinders heading into the remainder of the college postseason.
NC State scored points in every event of women’s ACCs, including a massive 120.5 in the 50 free and 120 in the 100 free. But Holloway’s crew is proving to be more than just a sprint juggernaut. They also scored 124 in the 100 backstroke and the deciding race of the meet was the 200 back, where an 83-0 NC State margin over Virginia all but sealed the meet with four events still remaining.
Alexia Zevnik was the only swimmer to win all three of her individual races (100 back, 200 back, 200 IM), and was named the meet’s Most Valuable Swimmer. Meanwhile the Wolfpack won 4 of 5 relays and finished 2nd in the 800 free relay.
Holloway is now in line to become the only coach this year to win major conference titles for both men and women. With Michigan and Indiana splitting women’s and men’s Big Tens, Florida and Texas A&M doing the same for SECs, Texas having two different coaching staffs (and hardly counting for winning a glorified intrasquad meet at Big 12s) and Stanford having a similar split, Holloway will be the only Power 5 coach to win two conference titles this year if his Wolfpack men can hold on for their third consecutive ACC title this week.
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