Author: Mirin Fader
This past summer, Shea Manning was named the new men’s and women’s Head Swimming and Diving Coach, as well as Director of Aquatics. Manning, a graduate of Claremont McKenna College, was a four-year member of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps swimming and diving team. An eight-time all-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) recipient, Manning is currently the only individual to be noted on the CMS All-Time Top Ten Performances List in both a swimming (200 medley relay) and diving (1 meter and 3 meter) event.
Occidental will be Manning’s first head coaching job, and he looks forward to building on the success enjoyed by last year’s squad. In particular, the women’s team is coming off of a record-breaking year finishing third place in SCIAC.
“I’ve always had such a high respect for Oxy,” Manning said, “I feel very lucky to be here and I’m very excited. We’re a young team; seventy-five percent of our team is underclassmen with a small group of upperclassmen leadership. Both the men and the women’s teams are highly motivated.”
Manning comes to Occidental after serving as Assistant Coach for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) for two seasons. During his time at CMS, he helped coach the teams to a pair of SCIAC titles and led the women’s team to two top six finishes at the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2009 and 2010, respectively. In 2010, the men’s team qualified a relay to Nationals for the first time in over a decade.
After coaching at CMS, Manning served as an Assistant Coach for Division I George Washington University (GWU). While at GWU, Manning helped both the men’s and the women’s swimming and diving teams substantially improve, raising the women’s team two spots higher in the overall standings. In addition, the men’s program advanced from eighth place to fourth place during his one year tenure. The men’s 400 freestyle relay team also won at the Atlantic-10 Conference Meet for the first time in over a decade.
From his Division I experience, Manning reflects on the benefits of Division III education and athletics.
“Division III is more of a communal, family atmosphere. It’s more conductive to your overall college experience. At Oxy, the emphasis is about completing your education first, alongside your experience with swimming,” Manning said.
Manning shared a similar experience with his education and athletic experience at CMS, a small liberal arts college like Occidental. He also shares a passion for swimming with his athletes.
“No matter what I was going through, I had swimming,” Manning said, “and in all levels of my life, that never changed. Swim helped me progress as a person.”
Manning is devoted to similarly helping his athletes progress, implementing a team-oriented coaching style with an emphasis on skill development.
“I’m always thinking about how my athletes can get an edge. I am constantly reminding them of the little things. I also really want all members of the team to have a positive experience. Everyone has a role, no matter how fast they are swimming,” he said. “Everyone is vital to our success.”
As the teams move forward into the season, Manning is certain both the women’s and the men’s teams are working hard to prepare.
“People’s heads are in the right places. Our teams are willing to put in the hard work in the pool and in the classroom. The success in SCIAC will follow,” Manning said.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are looking forward to training under their new head coach and improving their SCIAC standing. The teams will begin practice on Oct. 3 and travel to Redlands for their first event on Nov. 12.
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