The Wolfpacker

March-April 2020 issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 39 of 51

40 ■ THE WOLFPACKER oleman Stewart approaches his final meets at NC State already secured in his place in Wolf- pack swimming history. He is a national champion, a multiple- time All-American and an ACC Swimmer of the Year. And it is not unrealistic to think there is Olympic glory in his future. Swimming was in Stewart's genes. His father, Andy, swam for two years at Buck- nell. His mother, Judy, still does triathlons, which combines swimming with biking and running in one race. The youngest of four siblings, Stewart's oldest sister Sada swam for four years at Princeton. His brother Noah did the sport at Dartmouth. But there was a point in Stewart's life where potential greatness in the sport did not look to be in his destiny. His father had coached all of his children in swimming, but around age 12 Stewart had decided he had enough. The challenge of separating coach and dad was tough for both father and son. "It was mainly my fault because I couldn't turn off this is when my dad is my coach, and then this is when he is my dad," Coleman recalled. Andy Stewart, though, was determined to use swimming as a valuable life lesson for his children, and Coleman would be no exception. "To his credit, to a large degree, he is a very fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy," Andy noted. "He just wasn't sure that the amount of work that you had to put into swimming was worth it. "What I made clear to him was he was going to do something to learn the connec- tion between hard work and success, and that because the rest of the family was sort of involved in competitive swimming, that was going to be what he does, too [laughs]." Coleman Stewart figured at that point if swimming was going to be forced onto him, he was going to be the best he could at it. The York, Pa., native swam for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and became a prized recruit, even if he was not neces- sarily rated the highest (Stewart can still recall his ranking of No. 115 in his class). Yet the two-time Maryland Swimmer of the Year (2014 and 2015) did not have the slightest clue he would end up at NC State. A decision to open rather than delete an email from the Wolfpack swimming pro- gram altered the course of his recruitment. As Stewart reflected years later, he admitted he had no idea NC State was even a school until that point. "The thing that caught my eye was they sent me an email and the graphic at the bot- tom of the email is a picture of one of the relay teams," Stewart remembered. "I know the exact picture, [former swimmer] Soren Dahl is standing up and screaming at the camera. It just stuck in my mind, and it just captured the idea of family. The graphic re- ally got me interested." NC State still ran third in his recruitment going into his trips. He really was feeling Ohio State and also liked Indiana. The Pack received his third visit. By the time he got home from Raleigh, Stewart had lost all in- terest in taking a visit to Arizona State, and he committed to the Wolfpack. Andy Stewart told his son in the car ride home from the airport after returning from NC State that if Coleman wanted to commit to the Wolfpack, he needed to call Arizona State's Bob Bowman, the head coach whose claim to fame is being swimming icon Mi- chael Phelps' chief trainer. "He made that tough call, and Bob tried C Senior Coleman Stewart Nearly Quit Swimming Before Becoming A Champion BY MATT CARTER ELITE

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