O’Halloran is a gem for Boardman swimmers
By Greg Gulas
When Terry O’Halloran graduated from Westminster College in 1973, Boardman schools gave him an opportunity to teach science education at Stadium Drive School.
A four-year letterman on the Titans’ swim team, the Pittsburgh native was hoping to give his new position a trial run with the intent to move on in his academic and coaching careers after a few years.
Four all-Ohio champions, 15 all-Americans, 61 academic all-Americans, 80 state qualifiers and 500-plus dual meet wins later, O’Halloran is still going strong as the Spartans’ boys and girls head swimming coach.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches Monday, the only coach both programs have ever known said that as long as coaching remains fun and the kids enjoy being a part of his team, he’ll continue.
“As a freshman, former Westminster College football coach Joe Fusco was my head coach and from my sophomore through senior seasons, Gene Nicholson served as head coach,” O’Halloran said. “They always solicited team members for input regarding practices and meets so that was my first exposure to coaching the sport.
“That’s where I picked up my coaching skills.”
From 1974-84, O’Halloran served as age group swim coach at the Boardman Tennis and Swim Club, overseeing nearly 200 swimmers between the ages of 4-18 during a stretch that included 10 consecutive undefeated dual meet summers.
When a booster club was organized by parents in 1984 with the hope of forming a high school program, they didn’t have to look any further than the township’s West Boulevard swim location for their first leader.
“When new swimmers become more accomplished and are faster than when they first arrived, then we have earned our salary,” he said. “All the other benefits of the sport will follow after we do our job.”
Since 2000, either the Spartans boys, girls or both have qualified individuals or relay teams for the state swimming and diving championships.
O’Halloran has mentored two state champions. His son Tyler was a three-time state champion. He won the state 50 freestyle title as a junior and senior, and the 100 freestyle as a senior. He also earned 11 all-America honors and finished sixth at the Olympic Trials in 2004 as a member of the University of Texas swim team.
The other was Ryan Bailey, a junior at the United States Naval Academy who won the 100 butterfly in 2013.
This winter, the Spartans girls 200 medley relay team (Sarah Gonda, Brooke Bailey, Corie Kuras and Amanda Moss) finished 19th at state, with Bailey earning all-state laurels after placing eighth in the 100 breaststroke.Bailey, who will join her brother at the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall, is a four-year state qualifier and three-year all-state performer.