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North Oldham swim promotes Edmiston and Cowley as head coaches

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By Elliott Pratt

Continuity won’t be an issue with the coaching change for the North Oldham boys and girls swim programs. First-year assistants Johanna Cowley and Charlie Edmiston have been promoted to head coaching positions — Cowley to coach the girls team and Edmiston for the boys.

Both coaches were assistants to former head coach Randy Scherer, who stepped down after coaching North for six seasons.

North Oldham’s girls’ team returns from a fourth place finish at the state meet while the boys placed 19th.

Cowley takes over the girls’ team after swimming for three seasons at the University of Louisville until a shoulder injury ended her swimming career early. Cowley will graduate from Louisville in December and said being an assistant at North last season has prepared her to properly take over the program for her first head coaching position.

“Having this opportunity is a great step in the right direction I believe on both sides,” Cowley said. “Sometimes kids are more welcoming to people who have been there for years beforehand, so the fact that I know a lot of them already with the exception of a few incoming kids, it’s definitely going to help me transition into the head coaching position.”

Cowley spoke for Edmiston and herself when she said that Scherer prepared the two coaches for this position while they were assistants last season, saying they each took over most of the head coach’s responsibilities during the last state meet. 

Cowley, who won eight individual high school state meet events while swimming at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has coached at Cardinal Aquatics for the past year and a half, but hasn’t directly coached those North swimmers also in the program. Senior Grace Oglesby, who has verbally committed to U of L, competes for Cardinal Aquatics and recorded the second-fastest 100-butterfly time in high school history in 51.75 at the state meet in February.

For a sport that mainly focuses on individual achievement, having the chance to lead a group in a team setting is what drew Edmiston to coaching at the high school level, a task that will be his first.

“When you’re at dual meets or tri-meets or competing at the regional level, you’re competing as a team to do your best and I think that’s what I really see more of,” Edmiston said. “I see more USA swimmers enjoy swimming for high school because it’s a team effort and they build that camaraderie and that’s what I want to continue to influence.”

Edmiston’s resume dates back to coaching where he grew up in northern Atlanta, Georgia where he coached many age groups through USA Swimming, club and summer leagues. Shortly after earning his Master’s from U of L, he served as Residence Life Coordinator at Bellarmine University before returning to school full-time at U of L for his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development. 

“For me, it’s this feeling of overwhelming excitement, but I think there’s some nervousness at the same time because there’s big shoes to fill,” Edmiston said. “If you ask the swimmers, as well as the parents, they have high expectations. I want to make sure I can come in and deliver some of those expectations.”