By Michael Moroney ’13
Ever since his first year of coaching the Brophy swim team in 2006, head coach Mr. Pat O’Neill’s record has showed nothing but success.
Mr. O’Neill began swimming at the age of six and started coaching the sport in college. Starting in 1997, he coached the Mesa Mountain View swim team for nine years before he came to Brophy to coach and teach math.
“I’m a math teacher that really likes to coach swimming,” Mr. O’Neill said. “That’s kind of how I describe myself.”
Brophy swimmers respond to Mr. O’Neill’s passion for swimming because they respect his experience as an athlete and a coach.
“He is always beaming with enthusiasm, always reminding his swimmers to reach their highest potential,” said Nick Giancola ’12, varsity assistant captain. “Coach (Mr. O’Neill) often harps on the importance of working and competing as a team, even with swimming.”
When he started at Brophy in 2006, the Broncos were coming off a national championship in 2005, and the team had extended its streak of consecutive state swimming titles to 17.
The Bronco swimmers responded to Mr. O’Neill’s first year of coaching by keeping the winning streak alive and extending it to 23 titles in a row.
To Mr. O’Neill, the 2008 team stood out to him because of the talent level from the swimmers. In fact, three swimmers from that squad qualified for the Olympic trials in various events, and all are still swimming at Division I universities.
Austin Thompson ’09 at the University of Arizona, John Wojciechowski ’10 at Michigan and Alex Lendrum ’09 with USC all qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials. Current Brophy swimmer Chris Webb ’12 will also be joining them at the Olympic trials.
Even though the 2008 Brophy team was the best team talent wise since he came to Brophy, Mr. O’Neill saw the best leadership out of his 2010 team.
“Last year’s team by far had the best senior leadership of any team I’ve been involved with,” he said.
The head coach cited Brian Stevens ’11, Wes Elford ’11, Shane Essert ’11 and Carter Smith ’11 all as team leaders.