Trip Breen enters his 18th season as the head men and women's swimming coach at Wilmington College with the same philosophy that has made his team successful both in and out of the water.
"I want these kids to walk away with memories of the total experience, not just their fastest time in their preferred events," said Breen, a former member of Centerville High School and Wright State University's swim teams. "I want the experience to be the most memorable thing for them. And that isn't just swimming. It could be spending time with teammates, everything that's involved in the sport. They'll remember their college years more fondly because of being involved in swimming here at Wilmington College."
Breen's formula for success has worked.
Since starting Wilmington's program in 1998, he has twice been named Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Women's Coach of the Year and also was named OAC Men's Coach of the Year, four times, including this past season. . His teams also have consistently been among the top academic squads in the nation. Wilmington College swimming is the epitome of Division III athletics.
On campus, Breen has also left his mark; in 2014 the Student Government Association presented him with the Van Black award in recognition of his dedicated service to the improvement of student life by a staff member.
Breen and the WC swim teams have earned the respect of the Division III community by working hard and competing fairly. No gamesmanship. Just total commitment and effort from all involved.
"We want to be a team that other teams want to compete with," Breen said. "It seems like, in this day and age, sportsmanship and things like that aren't stressed. I don't ever want to see our team as being one that people are shooting at. I want us to be a team that people want to compete with because it's good competition. I want to build positive rivalries."
With a solid track record and a growing reputation, recruiting student-athletes to Wilmington College is an opportunity — not a challenge — for Breen.
"We want people who want to be on a team," Breen said. "You can tell kids who want to be part of a team. We really push for seeing swimming at the collegiate level as a team sport. We look for student-athletes who are goal-oriented, both academically and athletically. We also look for mastery of the sport. We want kids that are going to come here and be competitive."