Aug. 27, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving assistant coach Kate Kovenock has accepted the position of head women’s swimming and diving coach at Brown University, it was announced Wednesday morning by Brown Director of Athletics Jack Hayes.
“It’s an honor to be named the head women’s swimming and diving coach at Brown University,” said Kovenock. “I immediately recognized the unique opportunity that lies within the program and the value of experience the University offers student-athletes. I am thrilled to take this next step in my career.
“Reflecting on these last five years at Notre Dame, it’s very hard to sum up into words what the experience has meant to me. I know I am very fortunate – I have always loved the coaching position I held when I chose to leave for the next step in my own career. I loved Kenyon when I left for Notre Dame and now I love Notre Dame as I leave for Brown. That’s a testament to the people I’ve worked with day in and day out – the other coaches, support staff, faculty and of course the student-athletes. I would like to specifically thank Brian Barnes. It’s been an honor to coach side by side with Brian. He is a phenomenal coach. Throughout my five years he shared his wealth of knowledge while being very mindful not to stifle my own development of ideas & approaches. For that I will always be grateful. Brian is one of the good guys and I am proud to call him a friend.”
During her time with the Irish, Kovenock was a key asset to a program that improved upon its successful history under the direction of head coach Brian Barnes.
“We are very excited for Kate as she accepts an offer from an Ivy League school,” said Barnes. “I was impressed with her progress and development while she was at Notre Dame. She is a fantastic coach and is ready for this opportunity.”
Arguably the most successful year in program history, the 2013-14 squad under the direction of Barnes and Kovenock tied their best showing at the NCAA Championships (T-16th) after transitioning from the BIG EAST to the more competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.
Highlighting the year was junior Emma Reaney’s national championship and American record in the 200-yard breaststroke. In all, Reaney earned three All-America certificates at the NCAA meet. Eight Irish swimmers advanced to the NCAA Championships – seniors Kelly Ryan and Christen McDonough, juniors Suzanne Bessire, Bridget Casey, Reaney and Courtney Whyte and freshmen Katie Miller and Catherine Mulquin.
Kovenock was especially instrumental in the maturation of Ryan, who closed out her career with a personal best in the 200 free as part of the 800 free relay at the NCAA Championships to finish off a spectacular Notre Dame career that saw her earn one All-American trophy and two honorable mention All-America certificates and participate in the NCAA Championships three consecutive years (2012-14).
During her first four years at Notre Dame, Kovenock helped coach All-Americans Reaney, Ryan, Kim Holden, Sam Maxwell and Amywren Miller as the Irish won one BIG EAST Championship, finished runner-up three times and placed a program-best 16th at the 2013 NCAA Championships with 55 points.
Away from competitive action, Kovenock helped plan and organize with Barnes three Coaches vs. Cancer Fighting Irish Swim Clinics that raised over $45,000 for RiverBend Cancer Services and the American Cancer Society.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Kovenock spent four years at Kenyon and helped the Ladies women’s program win three NCAA Championships (2007, 2008, 2009) and the Lords men’s program win four NCAA Champions (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) as the Kenyon swimmers earned over 240 All-American awards in NCAA competition.
On deck at Kenyon, Kovenock worked under legendary head coach Jim Steen and was given specific training responsibilities with the men’s and women’s sprint groups. Over the course of four years, a Kenyon swimmer won the 50 freestyle NCAA title twice (2007, 2009) and the NCAA record was broken once (2009).
In addition to her coaching duties, Kovenock coordinated recruiting for the women’s program. After back-to-back NCAA runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2006, the swimmers recruited during Kovenock’s tenure sparked a resurgence for the women’s program, playing key roles in Kenyon’s three titles from 2007-09.
As a sprinter at Connecticut College (Div. III), Kovenock captured an individual NCAA Championship in the 50 free (2004) and earned 11 individual NCAA All-American awards (2002 – 2005). At the conference level, she went undefeated in the 50 and 100 freestyle events over her four years.
Kovenock’s collegiate career was marked by academic accolades as well. Graduating with a B.A. in honors philosophy, Kovenock was selected to the CSCAA Scholar All-America team during each of her four years and was named to the prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-America Team during both her junior and senior campaigns.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director