With the start of a new season for the swim team on the horizon, a new member of the coaching staff is finding her role.
Head coach and Olympic gold medalist Josh Davis hired a new graduate assistant, Maggie Carnahan, this past summer.
Carnahan, a recent business administration graduate of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL, swam for the varsity team all four years. Carnahan originally planned on taking a graduate coaching position at Oklahoma Baptist University, but the position became unavailable due to the unexpected passing of head coach Sam Freas. This led Carnahan to Oklahoma Christian University, as it is the only other college in Oklahoma with a swim team. When Carnahan reached out to Coach Davis, he said he was praying for a female graduate assistant, and Carnahan was the perfect fit.
This will be Carnahan’s first season coaching at the collegiate level. In the past, Carnahan helped with middle school swim teams and also worked giving private swim lessons.
Carnahan said she is adamant about learning different training methods so she can help the swimmers improve throughout the season.
“As a coach, my goals are to learn as much as I can about the training styles and stroke technique so that I can help swimmers improve and reach their individual and team goals,” Carnahan said.
Carnahan said she’s happy to be able to be someone the women’s team can turn to, since this is the first time there will be a female swimming coach.
“I hope to more specifically give the women’s team encouragement and be someone that they can turn to at any time for any reason,” Carnahan said.
A few weeks into the season, Carnahan has nothing but good things to say about Davis and what it is like working with an Olympian.
“Working with Coach Davis is a blast,” Carnahan said. “He is so knowledgeable about the sport and loves what he does. For someone so accomplished, he is very humble, full of energy and is willing to go the extra mile to help his swimmers succeed in and out of the pool.”
With a team of 68 swimmers, Carnahan plunged into one of the largest and newest teams on campus. This does not waver Carnahan, as she said she has high hopes for the season and the future.
“It has been a lot of fun getting to know the team so far,” Carnahan said. “Because it’s a pretty big team, there are lots of different personalities, and it makes every day interesting. There is a lot of potential, and with the way the season has started, I think they are going to prove just how much a young team can accomplish.”
Assistant coach Noah Yanchulis, who is in his second year at Oklahoma Christian as a part of the coaching staff, has high praises for the graduate assistant and how she is fitting with the team.
“She brings nothing but positive energy to the pool,” Yanchulis said. “It does not matter if it is 5 a.m. or 100 degrees on the pool deck, she comes smiling and ready to go. Her swimming background has been a huge help when it comes to technique work and talking swimmers through tough workouts. Overall, she has just been a great leader for the women’s team especially. We feel she has done a great job connecting with them and being a role model for them.”
The swim team kicks off its third season this upcoming Saturday at the Open Water Championships in Kansas.