Lake Norman Charter’s first-year swim coach Kevin Happ hopes his experience in the pool will help him lead his team to more success.The 24-year-old takes over for former coach Alison Pick, who led the Knights’ boys and girls to 1A/2A West regional championships and runner-up finishes at states last spring.“There’s always pressure when a team is successful like that,” said Happ. “But a lot of it has to do with the kids on the team, the great leadership that’s already out there. I have the fun part, just working with them and keeping them on task.”Happ, a former Indiana Hoosier swimmer, said that his experience has made it easy for him to relate to his swimmers.“I know what they’re going through; I’ve been there and done that,” he said. “It hasn’t been too long since I’ve done it, so I still understand where they’re coming from.”Aside from swimming in college, Happ served as a manager for the Hoosiers while he completed a master’s degree in athletic administration.During that time, he served as an assistant at Bloomington South High School in Indiana.Happ, SwimMAC’s North Division auxiliary director and masters coach, has been in the area more than a year, having followed former Indiana assistant Pam Swander to SwimMAC. Swander is the club’s North region manager and head coach.With SwimMAC, Happ doesn’t often get to work with high-school-age swimmers. He said that’s his favorite age group to coach.“It’s right at that age where they know they can realize their potential,” he said. “They all have different goals – some want to swim in college, some just swim for fun – so it’s fun to help them realize their goals.”Happ said Pick told him about the Lake Norman Charter opening when she took a coaching job in Houston in August.“I followed them a little bit last year,” said Happ. “So it’s been a smooth transition.”He admits he was unsure of what he was getting into at first, but the way the Knights welcomed him calmed his nerves.“It’s an easy group of kids to get along with,” said Happ.Under Happ, the Knights have worked on conditioning in the dry land portion of their training. In the water, the focus has been on improving technique.Happ said his swimmers have looked strong in practice. He added that he’s excited to see how his full team will perform when they start having regular meets.Club swimmers rarely practice with their high school teams, which Happ admits has been the toughest part of managing the Knights.“You have to make them realize that they’re all still one team, even though they may not always be around,” said Happ.Although Lake Norman Charter graduated 19 seniors, the team returns several talented swimmers.Chris Cardwell, who tied for the 1A/2A state championship in the 100-yard breastroke last season, returns to lead the boys’ team. Cardwell was also part of the state-title winning, 200-yard medley relay team.Senior Austin Jones should also play a key role for the Knights.Senior Abbey Joiner and Gabi Osterholz lead the way on the girls’ side. Emma Rubel, the runner-up in the 100-yard backstroke, is recovering from a knee injury but should also contribute.Joiner, Osterholz and Rubel were part of the 200- and 400-freestyle relay team that was second at states.The Knights also return the 1A/2A diving champions in Nathan Lane and Adyson Lowe.
Tuesday, Dec. 04, 2012
New coach hopes Knights carry on recent success
Only a few years out of college, Happ can relate to team swimmers
Former Indiana Hoosier swimmer Kevin Happ takes over Lake Norman Charter's coaching duties this year. Both the Knights' boys and girls teams were 1A/2A state runners-up last season. SERGIO TOVAR - firstname.lastname@example.org