Competitor Coach of the Month: Jay Holmes, Texas A&M

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 Texas A&M men were 17th at NCAAs last year, but returned 38 of 65 individual points and 17 of 20 relay legs. In the early goings of 2019-2020, they are looking at a substantial rise in NCAA finish.

The Aggies currently rank inside the top 3 nationally in all five relays. In two of those relays, they’ve already surpassed their times from NCAAs last season. And the A&M 800 free relay ranks #1 in the nation by four seconds. Coach Jay Holmes has the Aggies swimming as well as they ever have, and this roster looks primed for perhaps its best NCAA finish since 1999, when the Aggies were 10th.

Here’s a look at the team’s relay performances at last weekend’s Art Adamson Invite:

NCAA (March 2019) Art Adamson (November 2019)
Event Time Place Time National Rank
200 free relay 1:16.81 12th 1:17.21 2nd
400 free relay 2:52.04 18th 2:49.99 2nd
800 free relay 6:15.59 13th 6:15.71 1st
200 medley relay 1:24.83 14th 1:24.44 2nd
400 medley relay 3:05.94 15th 3:06.68 3rd

Next month’s Minnesota Invite should add a number of fast relays – national team title frontrunners Cal and Texas are both scheduled to compete there. But A&M should remain in the top 8 in all of these relays though mid-season invites. They’ve also qualified all five relays for NCAAs, regardless of how they perform at SECs.

Holmes also gets a ton of credit for the outstanding swimming of sophomore Shaine Casaswho has flourished in College Station. He’s currently the NCAA leader in the 100 back (44.48), 200 back (1:38.21), 100 fly (45.26), and 200 IM (1:40.16). Other Aggies ranked in the top 10 nationally:

  • Shaine Casas
    • 100 back (1st, 44.48)
    • 200 back (1st, 1:38.21)
    • 100 fly (1st, 45.26)
    • 200 IM (1st, 1:40.16)
    • 200 free (4th, 1:33.67)
    • 50 free (9th, 19.54)
  • Adam Koster
    • 100 free (1st, 42.26)
    • 50 free (7th, 19.49)
  • Mark Theall
    • 500 free (1st, 4:12.19)
    • 200 free (2nd, 1:32.96)
  • Andres Puente
    • 200 breast (1st, 1:52.48)
    • 100 breast (6th, 52.49)
    • 400 IM (9th, 3:46.75)
  • Benjamin Walker
    • 200 breast (3rd, 1:53.33)
  • Tanner Olson
    • 100 breast (9th, 52.68)

That’s seven nation-leading times from four different swimmers, and a group of six individuals already in great individual NCAA scoring position. Current Swimulator projections have Texas A&M scoring 373 points in a mock NCAA meet, 44 more than anyone else in the country.

The Aggies probably won’t be NCAA title contenders come March. But they’ve swum better than anyone else in the nation to this point, and a top 10 finish has to be in the sights of this fast-rising program.

 

About Competitor Swim

Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.

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skullgolgotha

I met Coach Holmes when my son was at Texas A and M for a recruiting trip. I was impressed with his professionalism, his calmness, his genuine care for his athletes and especially his commitment to developing a great swim program in College Station. He was a coach that I felt any student would thrive under. Although we decided to attend a different College, Coach Holmes made our visit to A and M a very positive one. Great coach , great school…congrats Coach Holmes!!!

Stan Crump

Congrats Jay! Well deserved!

Richard Sybesma

Well deserved Jay! A true Aggie and awesome leader of the A&M program for decades. Congrats my friend.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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