Bryant Swimming and Diving Coach Katie Cameron at university pool.
Bryant's Katie Cameron has gone from reinstating the men’s swimming and diving program and launching the women’s team in 2005 to strengthening the programs’ reputations over nearly two decades.
Swimming and diving head coach Katie Cameron is surpassing milestones one stroke at a time
Mar 13, 2024, by Emma Bartlett

For nearly 20 years, Katie Cameron has been making a splash as head coach of Bryant’s men and women’s swimming and diving teams. From reinstating the men’s program in 2005 to launching the women’s team the same year, Cameron has strengthened the programs’ reputations while her student-athletes continuously break university records. Overseeing a six-lane, 25-yard pool where Bulldogs practice and compete five months out of the academic year, Cameron’s domain is filled with championship banners that proudly hang from the facility’s rafters.

Mentoring 60 student-athletes is no easy feat, but Cameron navigates the responsibility with grace — and results. During the 2023-24 season, the teams set 15 program records and placed in the America East Conference; the men came in second and the women finished third.

“We've had an incredible year, and we're pleased with how we performed on an individual basis,” Cameron says. “It’s a little disappointing that we didn’t win the conference, but it’ll make us hungrier next year."

While her success has been recognized through winning coach of the year multiple times, Cameron admits that she never intended to become a coach. Instead, she had planned to dive into a hospitality-related career.

A swimmer from youth

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Cameron fell in love with swimming after tagging along to her siblings’ swim practices at the local YMCA when she was five years old; her family’s summers spent at a Coney Island pool club were also instrumental in launching her swimming career.

“I desperately wanted to be with the big kids in the deep section of the pool with the diving boards, but it required a six-length swim test,” Cameron, the youngest of eight, recalls. “After several failed attempts, I passed on the last day of summer.”

Noting how tough the sport is, Cameron’s favorite part was the training and grind of it.

“You have to be a special breed to be able to go back and forth so many times just staring at a black line,” Cameron says.

Cameron went on to compete for Syracuse University’s Division I swim team and pursued a management degree. Four years later, with her diploma in hand, she accepted a position at a Manhattan hotel but soon realized the career path wasn’t for her. Instead, she pivoted to substitute teaching and volunteering for her high school’s swim program while looking for a permanent job.

She notes that during one swim practice, someone asked if she knew anyone who’d be interested in starting the women’s swimming program at Wagner College and getting their master's in education.

“I said, ‘Know anybody? Yeah, this girl,’” recalls Cameron.

Cameron thought this would be a good opportunity to get an advanced degree and become a teacher but, once she started coaching, she fell in love with it. After eight years at Wagner — where she also established the women’s water polo team — Cameron made her way to Bryant. Today, she’s settled in Massachusetts with her husband and three children.

Bringing out each athlete’s best

Bringing upbeat energy to the pool each practice, Cameron and her staff are demanding yet approachable. Looking to bring out the best in every athlete, she says the staff focused on being the type of coach they would want.

She notes that Bryant’s swimming and diving programs are unique in the sense that student-athletes spend an equal amount of time training in and out of the water. While they may spend up to two hours in the pool working on interval training and swimming at race pace, they’re also visiting the weight room three to four times a week with spinning, rowing, boxing, or yoga thrown into the mix.

“We try to address overall athleticism and fitness levels as opposed to just being a swimmer because we believe that the more athletic you are, the better you're going to be in the water,” Cameron says.

While conditioning is part of why the teams are doing so well, Cameron notes that there’s a little something extra that’s been instrumental in driving their success.

“It’s the personality and character of Bryant students,” Cameron says. “They have their priorities in order, they like to work hard, and they’re always propelling themselves toward new challenges.”

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