Kaupp begins Luther career with a splash

Head Swim and Dive Coach Nicole Kaupp stands in the Luther College Aquatic Center.

Emma Busch (‘20) / Chips

Emma Busch (‘20) / Chips

Head Swim and Dive Coach Nicole Kaupp stands in the Luther College Aquatic Center.

Emma Busch, Staff Writer

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Head Men’s and Women’s Swim and Dive Coach Nicole Kaupp began her first competition season coaching at Luther in Fall 2016 after accepting the position in March of the 2015-2016 academic year.

Kaupp officially began her coaching duties at Luther on April 1 and, according to Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swim and Dive Coach Bethany Nicoll (‘10), has quickly established a positive relationship with the team.

“She’s been with us since April, so it’s helped that she got to meet a lot of the swimmers last spring and was able to lay the grounds for this season over the summer and the fall,” Nicoll said. “We met with the seniors a lot over the spring and this summer, so that helped get everybody used to her style. It’s been pretty easy. Everyone was really excited about her coming to campus, so that made it better.”

According to Kaupp, though there have been minor challenges coming into her position as Head Coach, she has enjoyed her experience with the team so far.

“I think that any time you’re new to a place there’s going to be challenges,” Kaupp said. “But in terms of the team itself, I think that even though we’ve had some bumps, overall it’s been pretty smooth. The team has really taken to my style and my personality. I have lots of quick responses, which have taken a few of them by surprise but they’ve gotten used to it. There really hasn’t been a lot of backlash at all. They’ve just jumped on board and it’s been a really great experience so far.”

Men’s team co-captain Justin Yuan (‘17) said he believes that Kaupp has brought new energy to the program and has enabled his teammates to perform to the best of their abilities.

“[Her coaching style] has brought about a renewed intensity in the swim program,” Yuan said. “She aims to bring out the best in every swimmer she coaches. Many of my teammates have performed beyond their expectations by achieving personal best times this early in the season and competing in new events that they have never swam before. The rest of the season is sure to be exciting and the entire team is looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”

According to Nicoll, Kaupp has kept many Luther swim traditions but she has made some changes to the team’s practice schedule.

“She made it clear that she wanted to keep a lot of the same traditions, but she did change the practice schedule a little bit this year,” Nicoll said. “So before we were doing two practices a day, four days a week. This year we have built in recovery, so we have two practices on Monday, swim in the afternoon on Tuesday, only morning on Wednesday, afternoon Thursday and twice on Friday. That means every practice we can go all out, be intense and take away a lot of garbage yardage as we call it. I think that’s been a positive change and the swimmers seem to like it a lot.”

Women’s team co-captain Pilar Dritz (‘18) explained that she has found this tweak in the schedule to be helpful and that it has allowed the team to use their practices more efficiently.

“I think that it has been a great change,” Dritz said. This schedule allows for us to incorporate more power training during practice and more weight training while still being able to recover and balance academics.”

According to Kaupp, the Luther athletes have been a source of pride for her as Head Coach and she is excited to see where the remainder of their season will take them.

“I really like the athletes themselves,” Kaupp said. “It’s a group of really committed individuals who want to be the best that they can be. I’m excited about that and where we as a program can go from here.”

Prior to coming to Luther, Kaupp served as an assistant coach and later as an interim head coach at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, in 2009. She went on to Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and served as an assistant coach for seven seasons, where she helped coach 41 All-Americans who earned 160 All-American honors, including five national championships from 2009-2016.

Kaupp’s current season record with her teams is 1-3 with the men and 1-3 with the women. She will coach the Norse at the next men’s and women’s meets against Loras at home on Jan. 7.

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