After nine years at Valpo, Howard Hunte resigned from his position as swimming head coach and will be taking a position as coach for a Kansas swim club position.
His head coaching duties will be filled by assistant coach Andrea Bretl, who will serve as interim head coach while Valpo searches for a permanent candidate.
“Right now [Valpo has] a job description posted, so that’s out and to the public,” Bretl said. “I know that [Valpo is] doing their best to do a nationwide search to really find somebody who’s going to be great fit for the program.”
The swim team is in a transition stage between Hunte stepping down, Bretl taking the interim position and Valpo searching for a new coach, but the swimmers have been taking the change in stride.
“It’s a pretty drastic change,” Bretl said. “I was a little bit worried about how things were going to be going in.”
Bretl has been an assistant coach for two years with Valpo, so most of the swimmers have had some experience with her and are comfortable with her as the head coach during this transition period.
Not only has the coaching staff changed, but Valpo Swimming has moved out of the Horizon League, with the woman switching to the Missouri Valley Conference.
“The shift over to the Valley and the Summit has brought in a little bit of new energy to the team,” Bretl said. “We are going to be very competitive in both of those conferences. They’ve really come together as a team . . . They’ve been very motivated. They’ve come together. The energy is amazing.”
One of the ways the team has come together during this time of transition is by putting a “quote of the day” on the office door of Valpo Swimming in the ARC to help motivate teammates as they walk into practice and prepare for the upcoming season.
Valpo Swimming’s season has yet to be announced, but the veteran swimmers are expected to stand out this year for the Crusaders. Some of these swimmers are going to be Robbie Bretl, Dylan Kirar, Dylan Ogle and Max Penn on the men’s side, as well as Amanda Jenny, entering her senior season with Valpo on the women’s team.