(Posted April 17, 2001)

Juniata College women's swimming head coach Kathy Collins, who is a 1988 graduate of Sayre High School, made her third and last season as the Eagle mentor a memorable one and capped it off by earning the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Women's Swimming Coach of the Year honors. It marks the first time that a Juniata swimming boss has earned Coach of the Year recognition.

This past winter, Collins, who will be leaving Juniata in July of this year to pursue a doctoral degree in higher education administration at Bowling Green, guided the Eagles to their highest finish at the MAC championship in the 13-year history of blue and gold swimming. In addition, Collins coached freshman Kim Allen to all-American honors in the 200-yard breaststroke, marking the first-ever Juniata swimmer to earn national laurels. The blue and gold placed 4th in the 11-team field at the MAC championship hosted by Scranton in mid February. The Eagles tallied a program-record 278 points as well. The previous bests for Juniata were sixth place (1994) and 247 points (1992 and 1994). The dramatic improvement over last year's fifth straight eighth place showing at the MAC meet combined with the all-American status of Allen sealed the Coach of the Year honors for Collins, who will also work as an assistant to the president at Bowling Green. Juniata was also 9-5 during the dual-meet season.

"This is a great way to go out," said Collins. "My time as the Juniata women's swimming coach has been very memorable and this year will stand out in my mind for a long time. I set some goals in my mind for what I wanted to accomplish, and I can walk away feeling very good about the goals the program met during my time. The program is in great shape now and I hope that things continue to stay strong for Juniata swimming."

The 1992 Juniata College graduate served as a volunteer assistant with the Eagle program in 1997-98 and took on head coaching responsibilities in 1998-99. She inherited a squad that was 3-10 in dual meet action and that had placed eighth in the conference in 1997-98. Improvement during the Collins tenure came quick, as the Eagles went 6-8 during the 1998-99 season and again placed eighth at the MACs. A more challenging schedule and one of the best recruiting classes ever at Juniata in 1999-2000 led to a respectable 4-11 record and the unit placed eighth at the conference championship, but was just six points out of sixth place. In addition, along the way during her three years as the Juniata swimming head coach, the Eagles set 18 school records (all but one of the existing records have come under the guidance of Collins), and posted five individual or relay conference championships and one all-American.

Collins, who also serves as the assistant dean of students/director of residential life at Juniata, was on the blue and gold swimming team from 1989-91 until she suffered a career-ending shoulder injury. She graduated from Juniata with a political science/international relations business degree and then received her master’s degree in college student personnel administration from Shippensburg University in 1994. While at Shippensburg, Collins worked as an assistant coach for the swimming program during the 1992-93 season and was part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Coaching Staff of the Year. She coached 16 Division II All-Americans during her time at Shippensburg. During the 1993-94 school year, Collins worked as a volunteer assistant with the swimming program at Lebanon Valley College.

In addition at the 2001 MAC championship, Allen posted two individual first-place performances for the first time in the blue and gold swimming annals and Juniata also won relay events for the first time in program history. Allen took top honors in the 100- (1:07.41) and the 200-yard (2:26.97) breaststroke events. The 200- and 400-yard medley relay units were also victorious on the weekend. The 200-yard medley relay squad made up of Allen, sophomore Alissa Schneider, junior Jenn Dorsch and freshman Danielle Irwin placed first while setting a school and MAC record time of 1:53.30. The 400-yard medley relay team of Schneider, Allen, Irwin and sophomore Cyndi Long placed first as well with a Juniata record time of 4:06.42. At the NCAA Division III championship in March, Allen posted a school record time of 2:26.19 in the 200-yard breaststroke to place 11th in the nation and pick up second-team all-American recognition.

Juniata has not yet officially named who will take over as the women's swimming coach.

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