Swimming Head Coach Scott Whitbeck was awarded 2011 SUNYAC Female Coach of the Year as a result of the Hawk’s finish at the conference championships last week.
From the first day of practice, Whitbeck told his team his philosophy for a winning season. Whitbeck said working hard everyday, paying attention to details and doing the little things in and out of the pool would lead the Hawks to success. The Women’s team bought into this belief, and as a result, finished second out of nine teams with 664.5 points, a New Paltz record.
“[Whitbeck] is a great coach,” swimmer Christine Rieth said. “He doesn’t yell during practice and he is a great motivator on the pool deck.”
Despite calling the award a “great honor,” Whitbeck said the credit and focus should be on the team’s showing at the championships.
“Out of 13 individual races we won eight,” Whitbeck said. “We might have came in second, but it felt like we kept winning every race.”
The Hawks finished the season 5-3 and according to Whitbeck the teams success and his subsequent award was a testament to the captains leadership and his assistant coaches help.
Whitbeck is no stranger to success in the pool. Since he was 9-years-old Whitbeck had been swimming competitively and after four years of swimming competitively at the College of Kalamazoo and getting a graduate degree at the University of Massachucettes, Whitbeck was hired by SUNY New Paltz at age 25, making him one of the youngest head coaches in the country.
“Swimming has certainly been a life long passion of mine,” Whitbeck said.
As for the future of the swimming program, Whitbeck has his sights set. The women’s swimming team is hoping to qualify for the 200 medley relay in the national championships and should know early next week if they will be competing. In the meantime, Whitbeck is continuing to coach his players.
Next season, Whitbeck said he hopes to bring in student athletes who want to excel both in the pool and in school to mix with the returning players. He believes his future teams have the talent to compete with anyone.
“I think from a swimming standpoint we can compete with the very best in the conference and country,” Whitbeck said.