North Texas Daily

New swimming head coach brings successful past to UNT

New swimming head coach brings successful past to UNT

New swimming head coach brings successful past to UNT
September 05
16:27 2013

Jeremy Eackles / Intern

The Mean Green swim team enters Conference USA this year with a new man at the helm. Head coach Brendon Bray, formerly the associate head coach of San Diego State University’s swim program, looks to bring his previous success to the Mean Green.

“We want to have the girls feeling good about themselves, feel like they’re getting better every day and leaving accomplished something,” Bray said. “I think that those general themes are transferable to any program.”

Bray took over the UNT program last May when previous head coach Joe Dykstra left to take a job at the University of Washington. The two worked together from 2005 to 2007 at the University of Washington.

“We have a lot of similar commonalities,” Bray said. “I think we may have a slight difference in our approach in literal training, but the general things are the same. We are both really positive and encourage team camaraderie.”

Bray would head to SDSU next, where he helped the team compile an overall record of 77-14.  In his last season with the program, the team set three school records and had 14 all-Mountain West Conference athletes.

One of the key changes since Bray’s arrival is the hiring a new assistant coach, Brittany Sayler.  Before being hired last June, Sayler was an assistant for three years at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin.

“When getting his ideas on philosophy of training and aspiration for the future of the program, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of,” Sayler said. “UNT does not have a strong tradition, and I think it can be a lot of fun help getting his stamp on that.”

Sayler said that Coach Bray’s philosophy is untraditional by being more specialized than the typical aerobic training of swim programs around the country.

“I think it helps prepare our athletes more mentality than anything else, and that’s the majority of an athlete’s race – the mental aspect of it,” said Sayler.  “There’s no question and no doubt that they’re going to swim well.”

Coach Bray and Sayler will be working on different areas with the swim team this year.  Sayler will be working mostly with the stroke groups, which is what Sayler swam as a player.

Sophomore swimmer Jana Burkard’s initial reaction for their first year coach has been positive, although she had to make adjustments from Dykstra’s practice-heavy style.

“Brendan wants us to have more quality practices, instead of being tired all the time,” said Burkard.

The Mean Green’s next event will be on Sept. 20 at home against Texas Christian University.

Additional reporting done by Tim Cato / Sports Editor.

Feature photo by Fey Sandoval / Staff Photographer 

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