Fairfield University Swimming & Diving Head Coach Anthony Bruno sat down to talk about winning his second straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title in just as many years. He also preached about what it means to work hard every day, being the “best version of yourself.”
Q: How does it feel to lead your team to second straight MAAC title?
A: Awesome. It was really cool and a lot of fun to see how everything evolved over the past two years. For the first year, we thought we could win, but it was still like ‘we haven’t done it’ so we were just working, working, working. And then we did it. Then, to come back and do it again, we kept reminding everyone that the second one will always be the hardest one. It does not matter if you win 20 of them, the second one will always be the hardest because you have to deal with success and keep it going.
Q: What are some things you implemented that helped turn this swimming program around so quickly?
A: Just more accountability. Our training program is unique here because we ask our student-athletes to work out twice a day every day from Monday through Friday, whether it is swim and lift, swim and swim. Everything requires a lot of discipline because if you are disciplined, you can be good at anything. We think that the discipline, accountability and training structure really lends itself to success. Also, 40 percent of the team is on the Dean’s List, which is not an accident.
Q: What have you been most proud about from your team, remaining hungry to win that second MAAC title in a row?
A: This year was such a different vibe because last year we were chasing, chasing, chasing but this year we came in as the favorites. We are never going to apologize for saying we want to win. It was an adjustment to now being in the front. The team did a good job, making adjustments supporting each other. The expectations and intensity here have grown so much so the competitiveness is through the roof. So that will either create a divide or bring people together and I thought everyone here did a great job at embracing the challenges.
Q: A lot of your contributors over the weekend were underclassmen. How excited does that make you that you guys are doing so well and still so young?
A: It helps to have a young team. But every year, every team is different. We are going to miss our seniors. We are going to miss Kelly Cordes [‘19] and [Emily] Vlass [‘19] and Donna [Lam ‘19] and Grace Goddard [‘19] and Oreoluwa Cherebin [‘19] and [Alec] Melotto [‘19] for the men. Having a young team, I want them to embrace the challenges.
Q: What do you look forward to most for next season?
A: I want to be the best ‘us.’I want to walk out, feeling that the 2020 team was the best version of 2020, men and women. We got a lot of talent and I want to make sure we maximize it.
Editor’s Note: Oreoluwa Cherebin and Grace Goddard were missed by Coach Anthony Bruno, but have been included in the editing process.