Author: Ryan Whalen
As the current school-record-holder in the 50-yard freestyle and with her name attached to four different relay records — the 200- and 400-yard medley relays and the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays —Occidental alumna Lauren Ransom ’13 is one of the most successful sprinters in Tiger history to date.
Along with being a dominant force in the pool, Ransom was also named Most Inspirational by her teammates during her senior season with the Tigers. Her dedication and swim expertise made her one of the top candidates in Occidental head swimming and diving coach Shea Manning’s search for an assistant.
“Last year, when I was a first-year, Coach Lauren was one of our captains and I had a great deal of respect for her work ethic and as a swimmer in general,” sophomore swimmer Lizzy Kosin said. “Now, the respect that I had for her as a swimmer and a captain has turned into respect for her as a coach, and I am sure most of the other swimmers feel the same way.”
Ransom, who was looking for coaching positions last summer immediately following her graduation, stumbled across the Tiger coaching position listed online and immediately called Manning. And though she exhibited her leadership while competing for him for two seasons, Manning still evaluated her under the same conditions as all other prospective candidates.
“She went through the same process as everyone else, but she had a leg up because I already knew and trusted her,” Manning said. “And when it came to the getting-to-know-you portion that happens with new assistant coaches, there was no issue.”
Despite being a recent college graduate, the decorated Tiger swimmer already has two years of coaching experience under her belt. Throughout her junior and senior years at Occidental, she was a coach for the Tennis and Swim Club of Albuquerque, N.M., where she mentored swimmers for the 12-and-under age group.
Ransom recognized that coaching preteens is far different from coaching at the collegiate level, but coaching at her alma mater made the jump slightly less intimidating.
“It has been a pretty smooth transition because a lot of the swimmers are the same as
last year,” Ransom said. “And before coming in, I already respected [Manning] as a coach and liked the way that he ran the program, so it was easy to get on board. I think that coaching with the Occidental program has been a more natural transition than it would have been at any other school.”
The ease into her new role can be attributed to Ransom’s ability to connect with the current swimmers on Occidental’s roster, as many of them had the opportunity to compete alongside her. She also knows the pain and exhaustion that accompanies each practice session after participating in the same regime throughout her career.
“Having swam with them and done the same workouts as them in the past few years, I think that has developed a greater level of respect because I know them individually as a teammate and I believe that has transitioned into being one of their coaches,” Ransom said.
But respect is not the only quality Ransom has brought to the squad’s coaching staff. Her two years under Manning’s guise has allowed her to learn from his style and perspective.
“I think the biggest benefit has been that she knows the program, she knows how I work and she knows the team’s expectations,” Manning said. “So not only is it easier for her to support my vision and program, but I think it is easier for the student-athletes to respect her as someone who has done the same thing before them and has done it extremely well.”
Having just completed her second meet as an assistant coach, Ransom believes the team is showing promising signs of improvement and is poised for added success as the season progresses.
“We are a young team and a little bit bigger in size, but I think that will be great for us competitively,” she said. “I am excited to see what will happen throughout this season.”
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