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.
The 2021-22 NCAA season has barely gotten off the ground (and NC State hasn’t even competed yet), but that doesn’t mean head coach Braden Holloway‘s work hasn’t been on display of late.
Two Wolfpack Elite swimmers and NC State alums, Coleman Stewart and Justin Ress, have been tearing up the International Swimming League (ISL) all month long for the defending champion Cali Condors, continuing to show that Holloway can not only develop elite talent, but push it to the next level beyond graduation.
Stewart shocked everyone when he broke the world record in the men’s 100 backstroke (SCM) at the beginning of the season, posting a blistering 48.33 to down Kliment Kolesnikov’s previous mark of 48.58, helping him land Match 2 MVP honors, and he’s continued to be a top performer for the Condors all season.
Across four matches, Stewart has three wins in the men’s 50 back, three wins in the 100 back, one in the 200 back and another in the backstroke skins.
Overall, Stewart scored 208.5 points for Cali during the regular season, which ranked him sixth in the league upon the conclusion of Match 10.
Throughout the season, in addition to his 100 back world record, Stewart has reset best times in the 50 free (21.62), 50 back (22.61), 200 back (1:50.98) and 100 fly (49.10).
Ress has also been a key cog in the Condor attack, scoring 131.5 points in four matches to rank 22nd in ISL scoring.
In addition to being a mainstay on Cali’s dominant relays, Ress has individual wins in the men’s 50 free (2) and 100 free, and will be relied upon heavily as the Condors hope to defend their league title in January in the ISL Grand Finale, with the semi-final playoff round coming up in November.
As for Holloway’s collegiate team at NC State, they’re gearing up to begin the 2021-22 NCAA season on October 13 at the UNC Triple Distance meet in Chapel Hill, N.C.
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