Veteran leaders and talented freshmen look to succeed this season
Tom Groden is entering his 40th season as the head coach for Boston College"s men"s and women"s swimming and diving. He has been the Eagles" only head coach since he started the program the year following his graduation in 1972. The program has developed with Tom"s student-athlete goals in mind. He firmly believes that the proper involvement in athletics will help one be a better student. The program is run with that in mind and year in and year out these swimmers and divers continue to prove that. The team continues to perform very well in the natatorium and they continue to excel in the classroom. During the 2012 school year five of the team"s last ten captains find themselves in law school. Both the men"s and women"s teams were named Academic All-America by the College Swim Coaches Association of America - with the men holding the 3rd best team GPA in the nation.
In BC's final meet last season against Holy Cross, Groden picked up his 637th victory as the Eagle's Swim Coach. In his 39 seasons, Groden has amassed a record of 637-309-5. The women"s record over these years is 342-135-5 and the men are at 296-173. Groden was the first NCAA coach to record 250 wins with both a men's and women's program at the same institution.
Groden enters the 2012 season with more wins than any other NCAA Swim Coach. He passed recently retired North Carolina coach, Frank Comfort. Frank, who appears below with Tom finished with 578 wins, mostly at his beloved North Carolina. This happened when the Eagles captured two wins against the University of Maine January 26, 2008. Groden's 637 wins have all come as the Boston College coach and that is the most wins at any one school by a college swim coach.
On November 22nd of 2003 Coach Groden picked up his 500th win when BC defeated the University of New Hampshire. Then on January 17th when BC toppled both the women & men's squads of the University of Rhode Island, he picked up both his 501st and 502nd wins. These two wins equaled and passed Coach John "Snooks" Kelley as Boston College's winningest coach (all sports). This meant a great deal to Coach Groden for a few reasons. Snooks was actually instrumental in Tom getting the pool directors job at BC after his graduation in 1972. Tom had done some volunteer work for Coach Kelley at his inner city camp the previous summer. Also when Snooks coached his first hockey team at BC in 1932-33, Tom"s father, Harold Groden ('35) was on his team. Tom considered it a great personal and professional honor to equal Coach Kelley's record. Coach Groden also lead the women"s team to thirty-five consecutive wins starting in 1976 through 1978. This is the longest winning streak of any team at Boston College in any of its thirty-five sports.
In championship meets, Groden has led the women's team to many successes. The latest championship meet win came in the 2005 season when the women captured their sixth ECAC Championship. It was an excellent performance as they defeated UNH by just five points. In all, the women have captured twenty-two titles. These include Greater Boston (5), ECAC (6), National Catholic (2) and New England (9) titles. The team has also finished as high as second in the BIG EAST Championship (1985-86, 1986-87) and once placed as high as fifth at the NCAA Division II Championship. The women have found themselves in all different places since the advent of women's sports and championships started taking place nationally in the early 1970's. The Eagles were participants in both the early AIAW meets and the NCAA Meets that started to take place in the 1980's The first female to represent Boston College at a national Championship was Siobhan Campbell ('79). Siobhan was a diver and went to the AIAW's back in the late 1970's.
The men's team has had its share of success in championship meets with one of the best this past season. As an NCAA non-scholarship program competing against schools that do offer aid, It has yet to win a championship meet. However they had one of their best finishes this past year. The men's squad (above) placed second in the 2011 ECAC Championships held at the University of Pittsburgh. This equals our previous best which was three second-place team finishes at the New England's (1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91) and a pair of thirds at the National Catholic Championships (1992-93, 1993-94). In the 2002 season they captured the Northeastern Invitational and the year before they were first at the Black Bear Invitational. Both the women and the men won the Orange Bowl Classic held in Key Largo in January of 2007 - with the men defending that title in 2008.
Boston College individual swimmers have achieved great things during Groden"s era. Six female swimmers have qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships, including one in 2005. Graduates from Groden's program have been chosen as the school's Eagle of the Year five times and eight former swimmers or divers have been enshrined in the Varsity Club Hall of Fame at Boston College.
The Swim teams have always qualified for the CSCAA's Academic All-America status and generally near the top - as were the men this past season in 3rd place nationally. The team has had three NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship winners in the last six years. Liz Byron "06 and Christopher Wilson-Byrne ('07) were joined this season by our four time MVP John Maloy ('11) as a well deserving recipient of that award.
Individually, Groden has been the recipient of many coach of the year awards from the ECAC, the BIG EAST, the NEWISDA, the National Catholic"s organization, and he was awarded the Masters Coach Award from the CSCAA.
A 1972 graduate of Boston College, Groden played four years on the new founded Soccer team. Tom was also the player coach on the Water Polo team. Tom captured Most Valuable Player honors in water polo four times. He was the team"s high scorer and was chosen as a member of the All-New England Team.
Tom lives with his wife Sara, a BC Varsity Club Hall of Fame member for her swimming in Walpole, Massachusetts. They have two daughters, Susan and Erin.