Joseph Bernal has been chosen as the next head coach of swimming and director of aquatics at Harvard, the athletics office announced yesterday. He succeeds Ray Essick who left Harvard last October to become national swimming director of the Amateur Athletic Union in Annapolis.
Bernal was selected from among 125 applicants for the position, athletic director Robert Watson said yesterday. He has an "excellent record at the age of 35 and is bound to prove one of the best coaches in the country," Watson added.
Bernal now coaches the swim team at Fordham University and the Gator Club in New York which finished ninth in the recent AAU championships.
Bernal said yesterday he made the decision to leave Fordham for Harvard because the Harvard athletic program "generates an atmosphere of such enthusiasm," and the team has great potential in his opinion.
"I like to create a lot of team spirit, an air of having fun while we're working hard," he said. He added that he plans to devote more time to each individual swimmer, reevaluating each athlete's skills before planning his coaching tactics.
Co-captain Kevin O'Connell said yesterday he feels "ambivalent" about the new coach. Although the team will have to "adjust to someone it doesn't really know," he said Bernal will be an excellent coach.