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The Student News Site of Roger Williams University

The Hawks' Herald

The Student News Site of Roger Williams University

The Hawks' Herald

Swim head coach, Matthew Emmert, to be inducted to RI Aquatic Hall of Fame

Head Swim Coach Matthew Emmert standing by the pool. Courtesy of Bodie Ibrahim

Swim head coach, Matthew Emmert, to be inducted to RI Aquatic Hall of Fame

Megan Standifer

Sports Editor

After taking over the RWU swimming program in 2012, years of coaching in Rhode Island prior, and leading countless swimmers to national championships and more, it has been announced that head coach, Matthew Emmert, (or ‘Coach Matt,’ as he is known to his teams), will be inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame. Emmert describes even being nominated for the induction as, “extremely humbling.”

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“It’s still very surreal, being inducted and surrounded by so many of my mentors and peers who have had a profound impact on my personal and professional career,” Emmert said.

The RI Aquatic Hall of Fame was created in 1981 and has inducted 246 individuals. The official website describes their Hall of Famers as “Rhode Islanders who have exhibited extraordinary service and achievement through aquatics.”

Coach Matt’s achievements span not just during his time at RWU, but throughout his career. He has coached at the University of Rhode Island, North Kingston High School, Texas Christian University, and the University of Maryland. Across Emmert’s coaching career, he has coached 14 Team USA Olympic Trials Qualifiers, 32 USA Swimming Senior National Qualifiers, and 23 all-conference swimmers.

“Even though my title is coach, I consider myself an educator and utilize the sport of swimming to teach each of our team members the “soft skills” necessary to be successful in their personal and professional endeavors,” Emmert said.

Along with himself, two swimmers Emmert previously coached, Elizabeth Beisel and Laura Sogar, will also be inducted into the hall of fame. Emmert coached Beisel when she was in high school in Rhode Island. Beisel went on to compete in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics for Team USA and earned two Olympic medals.

“With Elizabeth, I was lucky enough to coach her at my first head coaching gig with North Kingstown High School,” Emmert said. “It’s special to be honored and inducted with those who helped launch my career and philosophies.”

Since his debut to both the men’s and women’s RWU swim teams, Emmert has worked to improve the team in and out of the pool. Emmert describes the team culture of the program as “driven by values, not performance.” He also describes his goals for his swimmers as “continuing to strive to be the best we can be daily and focus on the process of getting 1% better every day.”

“There was a good team culture in place when I arrived, however, we raised the bar with the expectations & goals of the program, culture is our top priority and each year we keep building upon previous years’ success,” Emmert said. “I think we are at a point now where we aspire to make an impact & have a presence on the national scene.”

The Hawks’ strength in the community outside of the pool has clearly contributed to their major successes in the pool. Since coming to RWU, Emmert has coached 170 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) swimmers, with 50 individual champions and four team championships for the men’s team and three for the women’s team. Recently, in the 2022-23 season, Coach Matt sent senior swimmer Riley Williams to the NCAA Championships.

“We would love to continue to have a bigger impact on the national stage and within our new conference, the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference). It’s a deep and fast conference that has raised our bar internally. However, we do not want to take any shortcuts with our culture or our values,” Coach Matt said.

Alongside the multitude of successful swimmers that Emmert has produced, he has also been named NEISDA Coach of the Year eight times and the 2022 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men’s Coach of the Year.

“The championships have been nice, but honestly, it’s about seeing the growth of the student-athletes throughout their four years and beyond in their careers,” Coach Matt said. “Simply, I think our biggest accomplishments have truly happened behind the scenes where the program continues to trend upward and be value-driven.”

Emmert has created a huge, lasting, and positive impact on the Hawk’s swim program and will be forever honored and recognized for his dedication and commitment to coaching some of the best swimmers of Rhode Island and far beyond. Coach Matt will continue to be a legacy of RWU through his coaching and auspicious influence on the athletes he has coached.

Emmert’s induction will be on May 4th, at the Quonset ‘O’ Club in North Kingstown, RI.

“[My favorite part about coaching] is seeing the student-athletes grow, mature, and use their experiences in the sport to optimize their full potential in the pool and out,” Emmert said.

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