Just five years removed from her Fairview High School graduation, Nicole Gladish is coming back to the Warriors, this time in a coaching role.
Gladish, a 2014 graduate, was named the new swim coach at Fairview and officially approved by the school board on Monday. As a student, she swam for her last three years before going to Baldwin Wallace University, where she swam all four years.
Gladish, who is a fourth-grade teacher at St. Jude School in Elyria, spent last season as an assistant coach with North Olmsted High School’s swim team and was the head coach of the Elyria Country Club summer swim team.
“It’s super exciting. I don’t know if it’s hit me yet,” Gladish said “It’s kind of always been something that’s been in the back of my mind, but I never really thought I was going to get into coaching after I finished swimming. So being able to go back and hopefully help my team be better than it ever was when I was a part of it is a very exciting thing for me.”
Bringman, who led Fairview for six years and coached Gladish with the Warriors, stepped down at the end of the season due to increased demand from her full-time job.
“That’s going to be a nice transition,” Fairview athletic director Joe Dianetti said. “Eileen’s been really, really helpful with if Nicole needs some pointers from a head coach perspective. Eileen’s made herself very available to do that.”
Now, with all of Fairview’s teams set to embark on their first season in the Great Lakes Conference, Gladish hopes she can follow in Bringman’s footsteps.
“(I just want to) make the team continue to become as great as they have been in the past few years,” Gladish said. “I just hope to not make them worse. I just want them to be better than they were last year.”
Last year, as a smaller team in the rigorous Southwestern Conference, North Olmsted went winless in 2018-19. This season, with a team that is, by Gladish’s estimate, at least 20 swimmers larger than North Olmsted’s, she is cautiously optimistic Fairview can be competitive.
“We were small enough that every team we faced, we didn’t have a chance to beat them,” Gladish said. “(Fairview’s size) is exciting. I’m not sure what to expect (in the GLC). I know that the teams that Fairview is in the league with are smaller. I just hope there’s a bigger chance there.”
A key factor in Gladish’s hiring, according to Fairview athletic director Joe Dianetti, was her ability to grow the youth programs. In the summer of 2015, Gladish played a key role, alongside Bringman, in forming the Fairview summer rec league at the Gemini Center that is still running.
“That’s the No. 1 question I ask when I’m interviewing or hiring any coach for any sport: ‘How are you going to connect the youth to the high school program?’ Because that’s how you build a program,” Dianetti said. “You don’t get kids coming out their freshman year and saying, ‘Hey, I want to swim,’ and then all of a sudden they’re awesome swimmers. You start them off when they’re 8, 9 years old and then build them up through the program and (by) the time they get to the high school level, they’re kind of hitting the ground ready to go.”
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