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Tyrrell Claims Second-Straight Coach of the Year, Seventh-Straight Ivy Title

Men's swimming and diving coach Kevin Tyrrell has earned the honor of Ivy League Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his storied career.
Men's swimming and diving coach Kevin Tyrrell has earned the honor of Ivy League Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his storied career. By Timothy R. O'Meara
By Katharine Forst, Crimson Staff Writer

For the fifth time in his storied career as Harvard men’s swimming and diving head coach, Kevin Tyrell has earned the honor of Ivy League Coach of the Year. Coming off the back of an electric Ivy Tournament victory in his home pool, Tyrrell has been praised by his swimmers for his unparalleled leadership both during the tournament, and throughout the season.

Tyrrell’s award is his second-straight Coach of the Year honor, after also earning the title in 2017, 2019 and 2020. He is in his eleventh season at the helm of the squad, and under his tenure has established the Harvard swim and dive team to be an Ivy League dynasty, confidently claiming its seventh-straight Ivy League title after winning the competitive meet this past weekend.

His roster posted first-rate results throughout the season, leading to an impressive nine First Team All-Ivy honorees, seven Second-Team honorees, and two of his swimmers sweeping four of the five Ivy League major awards. Senior backstroker Will Grant was awarded the Phil Moriarity High Point Swimmer of the Meet award as well as the Harold S. Ulen Career High Point Swimmer award, and senior diver Luke Foster claimed the Ron Keehold High Point diver accolades.

“Kevin has provided me with the opportunities and environment to grow not only as a diver and a student, but also as a person,” Foster said in an interview. “He has equipped me with the tools to truly motivate myself to be the best diver I can. He truly cares about all of us on an individual level, and without his influence I would not be the person I am today.”

Cole Kuster – a senior distance swimmer who was recently awarded the honor of First Team All-Ivy in the 1,650-Yard Freestyle and Second Team All-Ivy in the 1,000-Yard Freestyle – spoke about Tyrrell’s impact on his last home race at Blodgett.

“My first ever Ivy Championships was at home, and I couldn’t think of a better way to finish my swimming career than back at Harvard. After my final race, looking up at the home crowd and getting a handshake and hug from Kevin made me so grateful for all the mentorship he’s provided me over the last few years,” the Williamstown, Mass. native noted.

Kuster, who has excelled in the pool for four years under Tyrrell’s tutelage, has been joined in praising his coach by freshman backstroke and freestyle swimmer Oliver Pilkinton and senior diver Nick Nocita. Nocita especially noted the way Tyrrell acted as a leader both in and out of the pool for his swimmers.

“I think Kevin has served as a really strong supporter and leader who has created an exceptionally inclusive athletics experience that pushed me to become a stronger student, athlete, and overall person,” Nocita said.

“Kevin has always been incredibly supportive in all aspects of the sport. He emphasizes the importance of not only succeeding in swimming, but also succeeding academically, and, most importantly, growing as a person,” Kuster echoed, emphasizing Tyrell’s leadership. “Having a coach that cared so much about my personal development and success after swimming created an amazing environment that allowed the entire team to perform at our absolute best.”

While these three seniors paid respect to their coach, Pilkinton spoke highly of how Tyrrell — who declined to be interviewed for this article — helped him to embrace his first Ivy League meet and to embrace the opportunity to represent his school.

“Coach Kevin reminded us throughout the competition to enjoy racing and embrace the opportunity to make lifelong memories alongside our teammates,” Pilkinton said. “We could tell that he believed in us, and that fueled our confidence.”

Tyrrell will look to continue instilling that level of confidence in his team as the Crimson heads into its last competition of the year: NCAA Championships. Zone A Diving Championships will take place on Monday in Princeton, NJ and continue through that Wednesday. The events will also be streamed live on ESPN+.

Two weeks following that, the Crimson swimmers competing in the NCAA Championships will have their chance to make their national mark over the course of four days: March 27 through March 30. Those events will take place in Indianapolis, Ind. and will likely be streamed on ESPN+.

—-Staff writer Katharine Forst can be reached at katharine.forst@thecrimson.com

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Men's Swimming