One month before classes started, the diving team was looking forward to the 2003 season. The only problem was team members did not yet have a coach.
Jim Pyrch, the previous head coach of the diving team, submitted a letter of resignation on July 28, two months before the start of the Bulldogs’ preseason. The Elis had to scramble to find a new coach during the summer and things were still uncertain until recently. The new coach of the team is Ryan Moehnke, and the four returning varsity divers and one freshman recruit are excited to work with him. Before coming to Yale, Moehnke was a coach for a U.S. Diving Program based at the Shroeder YMCA in Wisconsin.
“It was difficult having everything up in the air so late in the summer,” diving team member Kathleen McKeon ’04 said. “Jim was a wonderful coach, and knew everything there was to know about the sport, so we were all very upset when he told us that he was leaving.”
Sources on the diving team said that the coach’s abrupt departure was because of family reasons, but would not elaborate.
After Pyrch resigned, it was up to the coaches of the swimming team, especially head coach Frank Keefe, to begin the search for a new coach. They decided to include the divers in the decision process.
“I felt better knowing the powers that be were being so understanding about [the athletes’] situation,” said Melanie Loftus ’05.
Although none of the team has met Moehnke yet, they will begin training with him beginning Sept. 22.
“Right now, practice is a little tough because diving is a sport that really requires coaching,” diving team member Michael Rohrbaugh ’04 said. “You can’t just feel things out in the air. You really need someone there watching you and giving you feedback.”
“I think this year will be less of a struggle for me than the upperclassmen because I expected to have to adjust to a new coach and they didn’t,” said Liz Foglesong ’07 of the change in coaches during the offseason.
However, the Bulldogs are excited about the fall. The divers are also excited about working with Moehnke, who they know by his reputation.
“It will be an adjustment for all of us of course, but I am still excited about my senior year,” said McKeon.
Last season, the Bulldogs earned gold medals in the one meter at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet and the Ivy Championship, along with silver medals in the one meter at the Ivy Championships and NCAA Zones meet.
The Bulldogs’ first meet is Nov. 14 against Columbia.