STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford women’s swimming head coach Greg Meehan shares his thoughts with GoStanford.com on his first season with the Cardinal program.
On his first few months on the job …
“In the first half of the year, we were in scramble mode -- getting acclimated and comfortable with the surroundings for both the staff and the student-athletes. We wanted the team to get comfortable with assistant coach Tracy Duchac and I and how we operate on a daily basis. Trying to do that for the first time as you’re moving through a season is a challenge, but they did a really nice job with that and I think we got better as a team because they adjusted fairly well.
“As we got into our high competition season and when it became more about performance, they did a really nice job with that as well. We didn’t hit 100 percent; we certainly had great success, but we also had some that we missed out. But at the end of the day, I feel good about the misses and know how to make some changes moving forward.
“We didn’t have time to take a breath and really recollect at all until April. On a personal level, it was just so busy, but I’m so grateful to be here. I feel like I know more of what the future looks like and how to get there.
“I think we had some growing pains in the spring, but only in the sense that now that we have finished year one, our expectations are greater. What we expect of our student-athletes is going to be tougher in year two. Year one -- it’s kind of easy, it’s fun, it’s new, it’s exciting. But as you get to year two, it becomes ‘That’s worn off and we’ve got to perform.’ I think the team went through a little bit of that phase. We are in a good spot. I think the team has a better understanding now of ‘OK, year one is over. This is the reality now moving forward. We know what to expect.’”
On the impact of the 2013 senior class …
“The seniors were presented with a challenge, having a change of leadership after their junior year. They were very comfortable with the system in place, and having actually experienced that myself after my junior year, I was empathetic of their situation. When I was a student-athlete, my coach retired after my junior year and I was the only senior, and so I know the process of how that works. They did a great job of forgetting about the past and focusing on what they had to do in the present.
“With seniors, there is always a greater sense of urgency, and they had that sense of urgency and that helped our team get moving. They managed that beautifully and really allowed us, as coaches, to do the things that we needed to do and they were going to make sure that the team followed along. That really made a big difference for us as we moved through the season.
“When the seniors transitioned out of their roles as leaders on the team, last season’s juniors have stepped into that really well. Felicia Lee and Maya DiRado are going to be our captains next year, but with the understanding that -- and we talked about this as a group -- everyone has a role. We have different captains within our team. We have recruiting captains, we have equipment captains, we have spirit captains, we have big sister captains, and everybody has a defined role for next season … I feel like this really empowers our student-athletes to have an impact on our program.”
On upcoming goals for the program …
“With the freshmen not being here yet, we haven’t specifically talked about our goals for next season. Very globally, I’ve talked with the seniors about what it looks like down the road and that this upcoming season is really the opportunity for them and for us to lay the groundwork of our team culture: how we operate, how we perform, and all of those things for the future. And when we’re really successful in 2017 and 2018, it’s going to be because of this next year and the things that we do and the culture that we establish.
“We already laid some of the groundwork, but this next season is really kind of a key. I don’t think it has anything to do with the finish that we are going to have at the NCAA Championships because I’m not sure that we’re in a much different spot next year with what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost. I think we’re going to be better. But in order to compete for a national championship down the road, this next year is going to be a reflection of that. When we are really successful down the road, I want this next senior class to look back and have a sense of pride in that we were a huge part of this, and that’s really what we are looking at for this season.”