Cavalier Corner

April 2014

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On July 1, 2013, Mark Bernardino announced his retire- ment after 28 ACC team titles during his 35-year tenure at the helm of UVa's men's and women's swimming and diving teams. To continue the legacy of academic and athletic suc- cess in the water, director of athletics Craig Littlepage turned to Houston's women's coach Augie Busch. In his two seasons, Busch led the Cougars to a fourth-place finish in Conference USA in 2012 and to a program-best second-place league showing last season. Prior to his stint at Houston, Busch was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona for eight seasons where the Wildcats posted 15 top-five NCAA finishes, more than any other program during that period. In 2008, both Wildcat teams won NCAA titles. Despite having to follow a coaching legend like Ber- nardino, Busch said UVa had too much to offer to say no. "What didn't draw me here?" Busch asked jokingly. "I've been around college swimming for a long time and have al- ways known that Virginia is a top program. Virginia is a great academic place in a region that's rich in swimming talent. "This job is in line with my all-time dream job combined with being a head coach at a program that I think can battle for NCAA titles." Busch brought a new style of coaching and training to the program, but wanted to be mindful of the rich swimming tradition established by the former staff and to see the student-athletes transition at a reasonable pace. "I came in aware of the standard of excellence that existed at UVa long before I got here and wanted to be sensitive to the past and give the high praise to Mark and my predeces- sors they deserved," Busch explained. "That was step one." "They were very distance based, a lot of yardage, a lot of volume, a lot of time in the water," Busch continued. "I'm a product of what we did at Arizona. A lot of race pace, going fast in practice, weights, dry land, running, a lot of out of the water fit- ness in general. A more technique kind of style." Busch said that to win NCAA titles, it's im- portant to perform well in the relay events. "My philosophy is we need to be stronger in relay-based events, which are all sprints for the most part," he noted. "Those are double the points at NCAAs and conference." In his first season, the women's team claimed its seventh consecutive ACC championship and the program's 12th overall, and the men's team placed fourth at the league meet. Busch sees positives overall, even in a disappointing finish for the men. "A large percentage of our swims were best times, and a lot of them were best times by large margins," Busch said. "I think everybody's pretty sold [on our system] at this point and everybody's on board. If you see results, you believe in what's going on." Looking into next season, Busch wants to fully implement his style in year two. "Our second year is going to be huge," he said. "You can't come in, taking over for a legacy like Mark established, and just go in the complete opposite direction. Next season is huge for putting our official stamp in every way on this program." — Greg Waters CAVALIERSPORTS behind the scenes SWIMMING & DIVING HEAD COACH AUGIE BUSCH In his first year in charge at UVa, Busch guided the women's team to its sev- enth consecutive ACC championship. PHOTO COURTESY UVA i08-11.V-Sports.indd 1 4/2/14 11:18 AM

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