Trinity University assistant Michael Schuber has been named interim head coach while current head coach John Ryan is recovering from retinal surgery.
Ryan has led the Trinity program for 23 years after stints with the San Antonio Aquatic Club, the Peninsula YMCA in Virginia, SMU and Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He’s currently on extended leave after having 3 surgeries in late 2013 for a displaced retina.
“I first started feeling the effects at a meet in October,” Ryan said. “It was like a curtain was closing in my left eye.”
He had his first surgery on October 31 with a target to return to coaching 8 weeks later to begin 2014. But when more surgeries were required, the return date kept getting pushed back.
“The recovery for this type of surgery basically requires you to be laying facedown 24 hours a day,” Ryan said. “I’ve been lying facedown pretty much 24/7 for the past two weeks.”
When it became clear that Ryan would miss all meets through the conference championships in early February, the team promoted Schuber to interim head coach in Ryan’s absence.
The current plan is for Ryan to resume coaching duties when he’s fully recovered, no earlier than the last week of February.
“I miss coaching. I miss work,” Ryan said with a laugh. “I’m just doing a lot of praying that I’ll recover enough of my sight to get back to work.”
Schuber is in his second year with the program after serving as an assistant coach with The Woodlands Swim Team.
“It’s a big responsibility,” he said of taking over the program. Schuber said he was specifically coaching sprints before being named interim head coach. “We’re really not trying to change anything.”
“We sat down and had a team meeting [about the coaching changes], and we aligned ourselves in a positive way,” Schuber said. “The team’s reaction has been very positive. They’re trying not to let the past affect the future… We’ve seen some great training, and everyone is trying to move forward.”
The team is gearing up for the SCAC Championships on February 12-15 in addition to the Division III NCAA Championships in March.