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Q&A With Grenada Olympic Swim Team Coach and NSU Head Swimming and Diving Coach, Hollie Bonewit-Cron

Hollie Bonewit-Cron

1. What are your goals going into the Olympics?

My goals are not nearly as important as my swimmer’s goals (Esau Simpson, and NSU student, is swimming for his home country, Grenada). I would say that my goals for him, however, are to achieve his best, which would include a personal best time. This is his first Olympics, but he isn’t a stranger to International competition and the goal would be for him to have a great experience while achieving a personal best time.

2. What do you want your NSU and Georgia Southern families to know about this experience?

I would want them to know that being focused and committing to not just the end result, but especially the process to get to a level like this is something that has to be worked at with a high level of perseverance and tenacity as well as making sacrifices each and every day.

3. How did you get the opportunity to coach in the Olympics?

Esau came to me to ask me that if he were to make the team, if I wanted to be his coach. I told him I would love the opportunity to coach him and applied to the Grenadian Olympic Committee to allow me to be his coach. The committee accepted my proposal and through a series of checks and balances to make sure I would get accredited, I became the head swim coach for Grenada.

4. Do you have anyone assisting you there?

I do not have an assistant for swimming, but we do have a Chef de Mission to guide us through the organization of the travel. He scheduled our practice times at the training camp, reserved the hotel rooms, planned media events and appearances, etc. We also had a hospitality group helping to plan our meals, reserve taxis, etc. while we were at the training camp (in Crawley, West Sussex, England). There are also 3 other coaches here for the Grenadian track and field athletes. I am the only swim coach for Grenada though.

5. What can you tell us about your swimmer? What are his prospects at the games?

Esau and I have talked at length about his goals and we want him to achieve his best. We can’t control how other athletes perform, so to put finite goals on his placing to say he will make semifinals or finals is still unknown.

6. When were you at Georgia Southern and what did you major in there? Do you still have a connection with Georgia Southern?

I attended Georgia Southern from 2000-2002 for my Master of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Psychology. My connection to GSU is through my connections with my graduate school classmates. I still keep in touch with many of them, including two who were in my wedding 5 years ago.

7. Where would you rank this experience in your career as a coach?

This experience to be a head coach at the Olympics would be one of the highest levels a coach could achieve. It takes a lot of hard work to get to this point, but it is an experience and opportunity like nothing else. It is hard to top the opportunity to be a head coach at the Olympics. The only other Olympic achievement that could be higher as a U.S. coach is to be on a U.S. Olympic Team.

8. Anything else you want your Shark / True Blue fans to know?

When you have opportunities, do not hesitate to take them even if they appear to be quick decisions. Had I not made some quick decisions and well as some long thought over decisions in my career as an athlete and a coach, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would also recommend staying true to yourself and never be misguided by naysayers or discouraged by disappointments.

9. Describe your thoughts going into the Games. Are you feeling any pressure?

There is some pressure because of the stage that the Olympics presents; however, it is a stage that is achieved through hard work and discipline. The pressure only comes from within and is generally a self-fulfilling prophecy if allowed to thrive. It is important to be mindful that the pressure and anxiety should be facilitative in order to achieve the best results.

10. How do you think this experience will change you? What will you bring back to the teams you coach at NSU from this experience?

I think the experience has already changed me in that this level of competition only comes from constant, full-time dedication by the athletes and coaches. My experience as an assistant coach at the University of Florida for six years helped me be seasoned in this arena and apply my abilities for the best possible outcome. This experience will only help me be a better coach for my athletes and to bring them to higher levels in their achievements.