Aurora -- The coaching philosophy of Colin Kelly, the new Aurora High School swimming coach, "starts with academics in the classroom."
"As a teacher and from my own academic experiences, I place a high standard on success in the classroom,"he said.
"I believe that a student that makes a commitment to a team or club can develop additional focus, time management, and determination that lead to even greater levels of performance and achievement in that classroom. For my want of all students to have this opportunity, I will never cut an athlete that makes a commitment to the team."
On Oct. 28, the Aurora Board of Education voted to award a supplemental contract to Kelly and to diving assistant coach Marc Cahalane. Kelly succeeds Katie Monroe as swimming head coach.
"We are pleased to have Colin join our Aurora family," Athletic Director Paul Powers said. "We look forward to him building our swimming program in the Aurora city schools."
Kelly said his goal is to "continue to expand on the past success of the team in terms of district and state qualifiers and continue to build the program with increased numbers of student athletes.
"The team lost 11 seniors, but we'll still have a core of good swimmers. There will be 32 swimmers and divers on the team."
Kelly said the team will rely on the success of several upperclassmen in seniors Hannah Brezovec (50 freestyle), Alexandra Hayes (200 free), Natalia Nelson (diving) and Jenny Young (500 free) for the girls, and seniors Anthony Nedelka (200 free), Brian Wessels (100 free) and Nate Branscom (50 free) for the boys.
THE TEAM'S first meet is scheduled for tonight (Dec. 4) against Poland High School in Youngstown.
Kelly teaches American government at the high school level at Connections Academy, a downtown Cleveland charter school serving grades K-12.
He graduated from Perrysburg High School and Hiram College in 2011, where he swam for four years and was team captain his senior year. At Hiram College, he was a freestyle specialist, a six-time North Coast Athletic Conference finals individual qualifier and a 16-time NCAC finals relay qualifier. He holds four Hiram records.
At Hiram, Kelly worked with coach Jason Groselle and his father, Jack. "Hiram was a great experience," said Kelly, 24, who is single.
He previously was an assistant coach at Parma Valley Forge High School, where Kyle Kiffer was the head coach. Now, Kiffer will be Kelly's assistant coach in Aurora. Both swam at Hiram College.
Kelly is looking to have as many swim team members as possible.
"The more swimmers we have, the more fun it becomes," he said. "If they're out there to quality for district or state, or to get in shape, or to make new friends, I encourage anyone to try out. We'd love to see the team continue to grow."
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187
Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC