Home News Local news Water, Water Everywhere, and UVI Finally Gets a Swim Team

Water, Water Everywhere, and UVI Finally Gets a Swim Team


Dec. 19, 2006 — The university for a territory surrounded by water will finally get a swim team, starting with the new year.
The new team will join the athletic program of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) as of Jan. 1, 2007, said UVI Athletic Director Peter Sauer. The team will compete in the LAI University League, which consists of 19 Puerto Rican Universities, including four NCAA member teams and UVI. The team will begin training after the start of the new year, according to a UVI news release.
Kevin Tyrrell will coach, the news release said. He currently serves as head coach of the St. Croix Dolphins and National Team coach for the Virgin Islands. The UVI team will train on St. Croix at the Dolphins Pool at Country Day School.
"The Dolphins Pool is a six-lane, 50-meter Olympic-size pool, which will greatly aid in the swimmers' training" Tyrrel said. "We are fortunate to be able to train in a pool that will help get us in shape quickly."
A number of UVI students have committed to the swimming program, including Kamal Russell: "I'm excited about our UVI team. Being a competitive swimmer growing up and choosing to go to UVI, I always wished we had a team. It's here now and I believe we can be successful quickly."
Amanda Webber has also signed on.
"I'm always looking for activities to keep me healthy, and I love to swim," she said. "Having a college team with my friends will be fun and keep me motivated to stay in shape, and I like that. I hope others decide to join the team, too."
Tyrrell looks forward to getting the program off the ground, the news release said. He has experience at the upper levels of college swimming, spending four years as volunteer assistant coach at Harvard University from 2000-2004. Harvard is consistently a top-25 team at NCAA Division 1 championships and has numerous world-class athletes each season.
"I was fortunate to be able to learn from one of the best college coaches in the nation in Harvard men's swimming Head Coach Tim Murphy," Tyrrell said. "He and Assistant Coach Sean Schimmel were great role models, and I learned a great deal from them. I look forward to applying that knowledge."
Before coming to St. Croix, Tyrrell was head coach of the North Shore YMCA Sharks in Massachusetts, a 500-swimmer team that helped more than 90 swimmers become YMCA All-Americans and go on to Division 1 college-swim programs. He swam for NCAA Division 1 Lafayette College for four years, where he was two-time captain.
"We have a tremendous opportunity to start things off the right way with this program and we will take full advantage of it," Tyrrell said. "However, it's important for us to keep realistic expectations. We will have a small team as we build the program, and will not be able to field relays this season in most meets. Relays count twice as many points as individual swims, so winning a meet or scoring in the top half of teams at invitationals may be difficult."
Tyrrell has set two goals for this year, according to the news release: To represent UVI in a professional and determined manner, and to set a benchmark for success that the team can build off of next season and for years to come.
"We need to see where we are at before we can set a plan in motion for the future, and that is what this season is all about," Tyrrell said. "It's all about being positive and learning as we go."
The team brings to life one of Sauer's dreams.
"Starting a varsity sport and basing that sport on the St. Croix campus was a goal of mine," he said. "Being accepted into the LAI League — which competes in varsity swimming and having a history of competitive youth swimming on St. Croix, made adding a swimming team a perfect fit. One of our objectives in the athletic department is to have students develop and become leaders through sports competition. We believe swimming is another great way to achieve that goal for UVI students."
UVI offers varsity teams in basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field and volleyball. "We are happy to include swimming, and look forward to many years of success and the life experience it will bring our students," Sauer said.
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