The Wolfpacker

March-April 2020 issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 40 of 51

MARCH 2020 ■ 41 to convince him to come out anyway so he could work his magic and see if he could change his mind, but at the end of the call Bob was very gracious," Andy Stewart re- called. "He said NC State was a great team and Braden Holloway's a great coach, so good luck." As Coleman Stewart winds down his col- lege career, the coach in Andy is "1,000 per- cent" in agreement with Bowman and happy with how his son's career was handled at NC State. In 2017, Stewart was the ACC Freshman of the Year. Then, a year later, Stewart made Wolfpack history, and it almost didn't happen. Despite being the top seed in the 100 backstroke at the NCAA Championships, he did not feel good in the prelims and snuck into the eight-man finals with the seventh- fastest time. Earlier, he had failed to qualify for the 100 butterfly A-finals, a disappoint- ment. After his backstroke, Stewart pro- ceeded to vomit out of nervousness. A nap in between sessions did the trick, and a relaxed Stewart became NC State's first individual national title winner in 12 years, since Olympic medalist Cullen Jones. Last year, Stewart nearly repeated. He finished second in the 100 backstroke as well as the 100 fly, and was fourth in the 200 backstroke. Despite meeting his goals in times, not winning took an emotional toll. A good support system led by Holloway and a chance to represent the United States in the World University Games got Stewart out of his funk. A big NCAA meet in March awaits Stew- art again, and then he sets his path on a professional career. Getting to compete this summer in the Tokyo Olympics is a major goal, but Stewart also has a bigger-picture vision for 2024 when the games head to Paris. "You want to keep dreams tempered to a degree because you really never know what is going to happen," Andy said. "I think Coleman has found a situation with Coach Holloway and with the Wolfpack team in general that he is so happy and so comfort- able, and then combined with the fact that there are ways that the swimmers can make money now once the NCAA eligibility is up. "I can definitely see him putting in the time the next four years and being a much better long-course swimmer, and over the next four years really developing into a true international competitor." ■ Stewart is a two-time national champion (100 backstroke and 400 freestyle relay), a 15-time All-American and a nine-time ACC champion going into the postseason of his senior year. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS LEVEL

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