Hawken Swimming’s long legacy of success is grounded in a commitment to excellence, to the development of scholar-athletes, and to the school’s motto of Fair Play. The team’s impressive list of distinctions spans decades and is a testament to its coaches, who know exactly what it takes to develop champions.
Hawken coaches focus on a balance of individualized instruction/training and a commitment to character development. To maximize growth in these areas, coaches work to get to know each individual student. 
Individualized training includes workouts designed for individual swimmers as well as attention to stroke mechanics. Coaches recognize that while there is a perfect stroke for each swimmer, there isn’t a single perfect stroke for all swimmers. They also recognize that different strokes (events) require varied approaches.

Endurance training and swimming have been the basis of Hawken’s success in the pool - a testament to our swimmers’ hard work and time commitment to their training. This has resulted in tremendous success in the endurance events at the high school level: Hawken boys and girls have won the 500 freestyle at the State Meet 20 times and the 200 freestyle 19 times, and Hawken girls have won the 400 free relay 20 times.
Both individual and team goal-setting are critical to Hawken Swimming success. Coaches recognize that while swimming is an individual sport, commitment to the team is paramount. Individual success helps the team, but it is commitment to the team, both in daily routines and in competition rosters, that elevates everyone. 

Hawken coaches plan for success at the highest levels, the District and State Meets. They focus on aligning individuals with the right stroke and event and are aware that carefully constructed relays are key to team success.

Dryland workouts have been integrated into the practice routine and are tailored specifically to each athlete’s needs or designed as group activities. These workouts build strength and endurance and also have a tertiary benefit: team-building. 
A commitment to character education is pervasive in all areas of student life at Hawken School, and swimming and diving are no exception. Both in and out of the pool, our coaches are committed to providing opportunities for our student-athletes to hone life-skills such as hard work, commitment, resilience, teaming skills, and problem-solving, as well as traits such as empathy, integrity, kindness, and excellence in sportsmanship. Above all, Hawken coaches, parents, and faculty work to foster strong citizens of our school and greater community.

Notable Achievements

  • 28 team State Championships: 26 girls, 2 boys
  • 18 consecutive girls team State Championships: an Ohio HS all-sport, all-division record and an open, ongoing streak
  • 8 State Runner-up finishes: 3 girls, 5 boys
  • 52 top-five team finishes at States
  • 50 team District Championships, 34 girls, 16 boys – first title was 1976 boys
  • 28 Chagrin Valley Conference Championships since it began in 1996
  • 88 individual and 52 relay State Championship events won
  • A total of 140 events won at the State Meet
  • 350 top-four finishes in individual and relay events at the State Meet
  • Scores of Olympic Trials qualifiers and All-Americans

Girls Team Highlights
Hawken girls have won the 400 Free Relay at States 20 times since its first win in 1984
Hawken girls currently hold the Division II State Record in 5 of the 11 swimming events
Renowned Athletes
Melanie Valerio ’87, Olympic Gold Medalist
Erica Rose ‘00, Open Water World Champion

“I think anytime you’re a teacher or a coach, you have the responsibility to be the very best teacher or coach you possibly can and then to be a role model for the young people that you are teaching or coaching.  I’ve always taken that responsibility very seriously.” 

- former Hawken Coach Jerry Holtrey

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  • Todd Clark

    Coach Clark is the Head Coach of Hawken Girls and Boys Varsity Swimming, and the Head Coach and CEO of the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins. Coach Clark did his collegiate swimming at Kenyon College.
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  • Rick Stacy

    Rick Stacy arrived at Hawken in 1987. A native Hoosier by birth, Rick received his higher education at Indiana University, Ball State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, taking a PH.D. in Tudor-Stuart English history from the latter.
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  • Doug Neff

    Doug Neff began coaching at Hawken in 2005 as an assistant coach under Jerry Holtrey.  At Hawken, Doug’s focus has been “dryland” work, or strength and conditioning, for the Hawken Swim Team –a key component in the competitive success of our teams.
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An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, preschool through grade 12

Lower & Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

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