(Posted May 28, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Lauren O'Donnell, a former two-time All-America swimmer and six-time NCAA championship qualifier with five years of collegiate coaching experience, has been named head women's swimming coach at Juniata College, it was announced today by Juniata athletics director Larry Bock.

"Lauren's background as a student-athlete at an elite level of competition, coupled with her time as an assistant coach at a pair of nationally-competitive Division III programs, made her the obvious choice to lead our program here at Juniata," said Bock. "Her commitment to the student-athlete experience and her desire to focus on coaching young women make her a unique fit for Juniata women's swimming, and her wealth of experience should allow her to make an immediate impact within our department."

O'Donnell comes to Juniata from the State University of New York College at New Paltz, where she has been an assistant coach for the past two seasons. As an assistant at SUNY New Paltz, she developed customized workouts for the men's and women's sprint team, and evaluated stroke technique using underwater video. She also developed the women's distance program, administering the daily workouts. O'Donnell also assisted in all areas of program administration, including monitoring student-athletes' academic progress, organizing team travel, and the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.

While at SUNY New Paltz, O'Donnell helped coach the SUNY New Paltz women's team to a second place finish at the 2008 SUNYAC championships, and a 17th place finish at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. This past season, she helped New Paltz men's and women's swimmers reach 19 NCAA "B" cut marks, while setting 14 new school records and three SUNYAC records.

Concurrent with her duties as an assistant swimming coach at New Paltz, O'Donnell was advisor to the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and attended the SUNYAC Women's Coaching Symposium in 2008 and 2009. She also attended the 2009 Women's Leadership Symposium sponsored by the NCAA and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).

Prior to accepting the position at New Paltz, O'Donnell was a graduate assistant coach for women's swimming at The College of New Jersey for three seasons from 2004 to 2007. During that time, she helped coach TCNJ swimmers in drills, dry-land training, weight room sessions, and helped develop practice plans for the various team groups.

At the club level, O'Donnell has been the head coach of the Greenwood Park Swim Club for each of the past two years, and was an assistant coach with the Eastern Express Swim Club in Princeton, N.J., from 2002 to 2007. She is a certified pool operator, with additional certifications as a Lifeguard Training Instructor, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, First Aid, and AED and O2.

This summer, O'Donnell serve as a clinician at the Bauerle Bulldogs Swimming & Diving Camps at the University of Georgia, where she will work with Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle. Bauerle was the 2008 USA Olympic team women's swimming head coach, and is an 11-time Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year and five-time National Coach of the Year. She will also be working at the University of Pennsylvania swimming camp, as well as the Nike Performance Swim Camp at The College of New Jersey.

O'Donnell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and English from The College of New Jersey in 2004, where she was a four-time All-New Jersey Athletic Conference swimmer for the Lions. She earned NJAC and Metropolitan Conference Rookie of the Year honors in 2001, and was a team captain during her senior season. O'Donnell completed her Master of Education degree in athletic administration and athletic management from TCNJ in December 2006.

O'Donnell earned All-America honors twice during the 2003 NCAA Division III championships, both times in relay events, when she swam for TCNJ's third-place team in the 200 Free Relay, and the 16th-place team in the 400 Medley Relay. She was a part of relay teams that still hold TCNJ records in the 400 Medley Relay, the 200 Free Relay, and the 400 Free Relay �?�¢?" with the last two records both set at the 2003 NCAA championship meet.

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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.