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Feb. 23, 2015

Meet Paul Graham

New swimming and diving coach stresses working together

By Kevin Alquist

CSU AthleticsPaul Graham is wrapping up his first regular season as head coach of the Cleveland State University swimming and diving team and preparing his team for the Horizon League Championship in Milwaukee, Wis. starting Feb. 25.

Graham was previously the head coach of swimming and diving at Ashland University, where he led his team to 13 top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championship and two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference titles.

Although the jump to coaching at Cleveland State led Graham to a larger school, he said there is little difference in talent level of the swimmers he is coaching.

“The level of the athlete is not much different, but here at Cleveland State there are more of them,” Graham said.

At Cleveland State, Graham is in charge of 42 swimmers between the men’s and women’s teams, 28 of whom are underclassmen, something that Graham said he thinks made the change of coaching personnel easier for himself and many of the swimmers.

“I think the juniors and seniors did a nice job of being receptive to new things,” Graham said. “With the team on the younger side it’s easier for them to get used to a new head coach. Of course, I’m getting used to them and they’re getting used to me.”

With a team of younger swimmers, Graham said he has more time to work with them individually throughout their collegiate career and establish a culture.

A key lesson that Graham said he wants to convey to his team is that even in an individual sport like swimming and diving, each performance is for the team.

“The biggest lesson is that we are swimming for each other,” Graham said. “It’s about more than yourself and that makes it very satisfying.”