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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Poseidon Ain't Got Nothing on Andy

It turns out that not all of the water in Buffalo is frozen, and swimming head coach Andy Bashor is using what little liquid is left to build his legacy.

Bashor first came to UB in 2006 when he was named head coach of the women's swimming team. A year later, he took over the men's team as well when the programs combined. Both of the teams have gradually improved since the merger.

"[With the combined program] there's more competitiveness that comes to practice," Bashor said. "There are more bodies. There's more energy. From a coaching standpoint, we have more opportunities for success. Instead of just having one team and 20 individuals, now we've got two teams and 40-something student athletes."

There was an awkward period between the men and the women's teams when they were first combined, but it only took a year or two for it to seem normal. From there, the combined program has only proven to be successful. Bashor was able to add two more coaches, which allowed the team to break up into more individualized groups with a coach overseeing each group.

Within his short time at UB, Bashor has already had a couple of career-defining moments.

"In 2008, when our women's team went from eighth to fifth in the conference at the championships, it was the highest they had been in years," Bashor said. "The seniors at the time had never won a MAC dual meet until that year. Last year, for the guys, the conference meet – getting second place. That's the highest place we ever got. How they swam was phenomenal and it was really good to be a part of that."

It's safe to say that the recent success of both squads can be attributed to Bashor's experience. He learned about the importance of hard work and dedication at a young age and has taken such values with him through every step of his career.

He was born in the small town of Chambersburg, Pa. Bashor's life started revolving around the sport at the age of five. Following in his two older brothers' footsteps, he began taking swim lessons.

His brothers weren't his only influence. He also looked up to Olympians Matt Biondi and Tom Jager.

Bashor moved to the West Coast to coach at UC Santa Barbara. He was the assistant coach there for four years, helping to guide the men's swimming team to three conference titles and the women's team to one. The title in 1999 was the defining moment for Bashor and the men's team, as it was their first championship.

Success wasn't the only thing that Bashor found in Santa Barbara. He met his wife, Brandi, on the pool deck, and in 2002, they were married. From there, the newlyweds moved to Rutgers University in New Jersey, where Bashor got an assistant head coaching position for the men's and women's swimming team.

At Rutgers, Bashor led the Scarlet Knights to second place in the Big East Conference in 2006 and coached seven swimmers who qualified for the women's NCAA Championships. With the men's team, Bashor got to be a part of something rare and truly spectacular.

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"[In] the 50 free on the men's side, the magical barrier is 20 seconds," Bashor said. "If you can get under that, that is huge. Not too many people in the world can do that, and in the 2003-04 season, I coached a guy who went 19.7 – so that will always kind of stick out in regards to coaching."

Since Bashor has joined the Bulls, a total of 55 new records have been set - 22 in 2009 and 23 in 2010. His style of coaching and passion for the sport has had a positive impact on his swimmers, as he is there for them at their best and their worst times.

"I redshirted last year due to an injury and thought it was the worst of times in my swimming career," said senior Catherine Scharf. "He never allowed me to overlook the positives. I take that with me through every day. It is the trust that he had in me that taught me to trust myself. Something like that is never forgotten."

Bashor hopes to add to his accomplishments this season by achieving a MAC Championship.

E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


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