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Coaching Staff

Arena Club Aquatics Head Coach Betsy Graham

The Arena Club Aquatics team is led by ASCA Level Five Swim Coach, Elizabeth (Betsy) Graham. Betsy’s Level Five ASCA certification means she has coached and developed Olympic Festival medalists and junior and senior national champions. This rare and prestigious credential is earned through education, experience, and achievement is composed of the top 2-5% of coaches in the United States.

Graham began her swimming career in Kingsville, TX, where she was a high school All-American and USA Senior National qualifier. While attending Texas Tech she was a NCAA Nationals Qualifier in 1986. At the University of Wyoming, she broke school records and became a team captain in 1987-1988.

Graham started her coaching career at Northern Michigan University as an assistant swim coach while earning Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation in 1989. She then went to Ferris State to be a head diving coach and an assistant swim coach. In 1991, Graham served as the head coach of the Aqua-Tex Swim Team (ATEX) in Houston, TX. As head coach of the ATEX squad, Graham enjoyed many highlights including a swimming finalist at the 1996 Olympic trials. She also coached two Olympic Festival medalists as well as junior and senior national champions. Graham also coached a 1994 and 1996 male academic All-American and placed a swimmer on the USA National Team Member.

In 1996, Graham became an assistant swim coach with the University of Arkansas, before being named head coach at Catawba College in 2001 Women’s swim team. In 2006, she launched the Catawba College Men’s Team. Catawba has produced four All-Americans and seven All-Academic team members under Graham, including two Academic All-Americans. In 2012, the women’s team finished fourth in the nation in academics as a team, while the men also earned CSCAA Academic Team Honors. Graham also coached US National Paralympian, Ashley Owens, who claimed four medals at the 2010 Paralympics. Under the direction of Graham in 2013, Sebastian Holmberg was named the Conference Male Swimmer of the Meet and All-American honors by finishing 5th at the NCAA Division II National Meet in the 100 fly. As a team the men finished 22nd at Nationals behind Holmberg and Magnus Lundgren. In 2014, both the Catawba men and women teams were seventh at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Meet. In 2015, Catawba Men team were ranked 1st in the country for overall team GPA beating out Division I, II and III schools. At the 2015 NCAA Division II Championships, Sebastian Holmberg swam to All American Honors in 100 fly and Honorable Mention All- American in the 100 back and 100 freestyle, placing the men’s team 24th in the country.  

In February 2016, Betsy was recognized by the American Swimming Coaches Association as a "Coach of Excellence," for her contributions to the sport of swimming.

Coaching Accomplishments and Certifications:

  • Gulf Swimming Coach of the Year - 1996
  • Catawba College Coach of the Year - 2006
  • America Swim Coach Excellence Award - 2009, 2013, 2016
  • Level 5 ASCA Certified
  • Lifeguard Training Instructor
  • Pool Operators License
  • CPR and First Aid Training

College Coach Accolades:

  • 2 All-Americans
  • 3 Honorable Mention All-Americans
  • 3 Academics All American
  • 3 Honorable Mention Academic All-American
  • 46 All-Conference Swimmers Top 6
  • 68 All-Conference Academic 3.0 or better 
  • 1 Conference Swimmer of the Year

Head Coaches Summer Starz Betsy Graham & Carly Nitchie