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 North Carolina Aquatic Club (NCAC) had a successful showing in Irvine at the 2022 Speedo Junior Championships in early August, as head coach Steve Brown led his athletes to several impressive performances.
The top finish for NCAC came from 18-year-old Brandon Miller, who took fourth in the boys’ 200 backstroke in a time of 2:01.79. Miller, who set a PB of 2:00.80 in the 200 back in November 2020, also placed 11th in the 800 free (8:17.87) and 12th in the 400 IM (4:25.75), setting new bests in both.
Another 18-year-old, Hayley Clark, set a trio of best times in the girls’ distance events, placing 10th in the 800 free (8:55.01), 10th in the 1500 free (17:00.47) and 13th in the 400 free (4:19.65).
Also racing individually at the meet from NCAC was 17-year-old Eva Boehlke, who was coming off setting some best times at the ESSZ Summer Sectionals in July, and Miller also led a squad that featured youngsters Andy Commins, Ian Platts-Mills and Lucas Li in the boys’ 800 free relay.
Commins, 16, notably split 1:54.99 on the relay after reeling off a lifetime best of 1:55.12 at the ESSZ Sectionals in mid-July. He also set a new PB of 2:06.36 in the 200 fly during the Speedo Junior time trials.
Li, 15, and Platts-Mills, 14, also raced during the time trial portion of the meet, giving them some good experience moving forward. Platts-Mills also had a phenomenal showing at the NC LC AG Champs in July, including a 4:37.70 400 IM that ranks him 84th all-time in the boys’ 13-14 age group.
Under Brown, NCAC has been churning out high-end age group swimmers for years, since his hiring in July of 2017, and they’ve continued to do so since merging with Club Kick Start earlier this year.
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