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PSU Coach receives prestigious award from the N.H. Union Leader

PSU Coach receives prestigious award from the N.H. Union Leader

Al Switzer recognized with Walter Smith Award for Coaches

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University women's swimming and diving coach Al Switzer was honored recently by the New Hampshire Union Leader with the presentation of the prestigious Walter A. Smith Coaches Award.

            The award was presented at the Union Leader's annual sports banquet, The Leaders: A Celebration of New Hampshire Sports Champions.

            Switzer has become synonymous with the Plymouth State women's swimming and diving program.  Now in his 23rd season in 2013-14, Coach Switzer has guided the Panthers to consistently strong showings at the annual New England Championships, and PSU won the New England Team Sportsmanship Award under Switzer in 2010.

            Switzer guided the Panthers to seven straight winning seasons in the 1990s.  He has helped several swimmers to reach the NCAA 'B' Provisional time standards, and was named New England Women's Diving Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004 after coaching three of the top five divers in New England.

            The Panthers have shown resurgence in recent years under Switzer, posting a 13-6 dual meet record from 2008-10. PSU won its final six meets in 2009 to finish 6-4, and posted a 7-2 record in 2009-10, the team's best since 1998.  Overall, Coach Switzer has guided the Panthers to a 110-94 overall record in 22 seasons.

            During six weeks of the summer, Switzer and his wife, Betsy, run the well-known Sandwich Aquatic School in Center Sandwich. The learn-to-swim program, staffed by seven full-time instructors, enters its 48th season in 2014.

            Switzer has lengthy experience in coaching both swimmers and divers, and allows daily individual attention to each. Much of his success can be credited to his team philosophy of hard work, commitment to goals and a constant emphasis on basic techniques.

            A Harvard graduate, Switzer began his coaching career at Hebron Academy in Maine, where he coached football, swimming and baseball. He went on to coach for 19 years at the University of Maine at Orono, where he guided the highly successful men's program to two New England Division I titles.  He has been inducted into the Hebron Academy and UMaine Athletic Halls of Fame.

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