Get to know the new swim coach
By: Harriet Siegrist
DUBUQUE, IA. – Nick Wyllie — a native of Southfield, MI, and graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in kinesiology and minor in health promotion — had a unique recruiting story of his own as he enters into his first year as the head men’s and women’s swim coach for the Duhawks.
“My old roommate at Millikin University, Cole Sondgeroth — the current head men’s and women’s golf coach here — is where I heard about the job,” Wyllie said. “[Sondgeroth] jokingly said: ‘It’s awesome here; if the swim coach position opens, I’ll let you know.’ A month later, it did open up, and I applied.”
When Wyllie received the offer, he happily accepted. He believes that everything here was set up for success, and with some hard work, this team and program could really go places. This past week, Wyllie was able to take time out of his busy schedule and answer some questions about himself and his coaching goals, as well as offer some advice.
How long have you been swimming and what did you swim?
I began when I was four and went until I was 20, so 16 years. I was a sprinter and flyer until 8 grade and from there distance.
Why do you like swimming and coaching it?
I like swimming for different reasons than coaching. Competing: I enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a team, I’m competitive, and I was good at it. For coaching, I started and didn’t know if I’d like it. I liked being able to see personal growth in every swimmer, in and out of the pool. It is crazy to see where people end up.
If you weren’t a swim coach what would you be doing?
I would fully delve into fitness coaching: doing CrossFit, strength…any fitness, really.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to work out. If I only had an hour a day of free time, I’d workout. I also like to hang out with friends and watch sports; my favorites are football and playoff hockey.
What’s your typical schedule?
- Wake up at 5:30 a.m.
- Coach from 6:15 – 8:15 a.m.
- Answer work emails and do administrative tasks until 11 a.m.
- Run to business office and meetings
- Work out or coach CrossFit at 12 p.m.
- Return to his office around 2:30 p.m.
- Coach from 2:30 – 5:45 p.m.
- Team lifting from 6:30-7:30 p.m. or proctor study tables from 8 – 10 p.m.
- Call recruits around 8:30 p.m.
What’s something you didn’t expect from the team, from Loras, from this job, etc.?
Before I got to know the team, I didn’t expect such good upperclassman leadership. I thought I’d have to develop it, but it was already strongly developed. As for Loras, I wasn’t sure of the level of impact athletics had on the campus, but after being here, it’s clear that it’s a big part of the campus community.
What’s your favorite thing about the swim team?
Our spirit is my favorite; when we went to Coe this year, the other coach complimented us on our spirit and energy.
What do you hope for the team to accomplish this year?
I have individual goals for people and some team goals. I’ll be very happy if we get a heavy majority of lifetime bests at the end of the season.
What do you hope for the team in the next 5 years?
There are two things: I want to try to have a full roster for most of those years, and within five years, I want to see a conference title on both sides.
What advice would you give to an athlete if they want to get better?
Continuously pay attention to the details. I’ve coached all levels of swimmers, and the difference between them is that: constantly focusing.
What is one thing you wish people knew about swimming?
That it’s yards — not meters — and from one end to the other end is a length, not a lap.
Aside from coaching, Wyllie and Sondgeroth created a podcast: “Tuesday’s with Nick & Cole.” They created the podcast to talk “a little bit about Duhawk Athletics plus a little bit about life in the Key City. All this and more on Tuesday’s with Nick & Cole!” They have 11 episodes out and they can be found on Apple Podcast and Spotify.
Wyllie recommends that you tune into the next episode for lots of reasons, including: “to get a quick update on Loras sports in the past week, to find out about local restaurants and their bone-in wing quality, and if you are bored on a Tuesday morning, it’s good-quality entertainment.”
The Duhawk swim team is in action again on Friday, Nov. 22 at Simpson, but their next and final home meet will be held Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. against their rival Luther. Be sure to come support our Duhawks during the remainder of the season and have some fun with the team.
If you are looking for a way to contribute to the team they are hosting a win pledge event this season. For every win you pledge a certain amount of money, and at the end of the year all of the wins are added up and you will be sent an invoice of your donation amount. If you pledge a $1 and there are 100 wins, the invoice at the end will be for $100. For more information and to sign up, visit https://duhawks.com/sb_output.aspx?form=44.