The Success of Rowan’s Women’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach Elise Blaschke

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Head Coach Elise Blaschke during a meet. In the 2021-2022 season, Coach Blaschke lead her team to their second NJAC Championship under her reign. Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. - Staff Photographer / Ashley Craven

For the past three seasons, the Rowan University women’s swimming & diving have been under the guidance of Head Coach Elise Blaschke.

Originally an assistant coach for six seasons under Head Coaches Tony Lisa and Brad Bowser, Coach Blaschke was promoted to women’s head coach in 2019.

“When you’re the assistant, it’s very much learning all the different hats of the position,” Coach Blaschke said. “When you’re the head coach, it’s a lot about delegating, how to accomplish those different tasks. So I think, I was very hands-on as an assistant coach and very involved in creating systems for things to work, that I familiarized myself so much with how to achieve certain end results that it’s easily translatable when I have to teach my assistants or then pass it down to the team.” 

Originally from Washington Township, Coach Blaschke’s career in the pool lead her to the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where she swam for their team. While there, she was an American East Conference Finalist five times and left UMBC with four of their top 10 all-time best performances.

Coach Blaschke explains how she has taken skills she learned while being a college swimmer to influence the way she coaches Rowan’s college swimmers. 

“I think most importantly, it’s just time management,” Coach Blaschke said. “When you grow up in a sport and something as rigorous as swimming. . . You learn how to manage your time early on. And just when you get to college, you have to learn how to be able to manage time without the supervision of an adult or guardian and so once you can really nail that down, the rest really falls into place. So that is a lot about when I talk to my athletes.”

When her time as a head coach finally did begin, it started with success right out of the gate. In her own rookie season, the Profs claimed both the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and Metropolitan Conference (METS) championships.

Coach Blaschke has also shown the ability to help lead rookies she coaches to success. In 2020, then Captain Jordan McChesney, a junior, was named the METS Rookie of the Meet and NJAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Year.

Flash forward to this season, where current freshman, Bella Stefanowicz, is another rookie under Coach Blaschke’s wing who is having an impressive first-year campaign. Stefanowicz has already been named NJAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week twice.

“I think that I have matured as a swimmer under [Coach Blaschke’s] help because she has taught me how to just race,” Stefanowicz said. “My mindset and my mentality have gotten so much better, just through the dual meets and our mid-season meet was also an amazing time to just race and see what I could do as a new freshman.”

Behind all of the success is someone who truly loves and cares about her team. Every practice there is music playing, girls laughing and happiness flowing throughout the atmosphere.

“I am looking forward to more hard work, definitely hard sets,” Stefanowicz said. “I want to get better and better as the years go on.”

Freshmen and seniors alike continue to respect Coach Blaschke. This year, she has coached them to their first undefeated season in dual meets since the 1994-1995 season. She is a coach that athletes want to continue competing for.

“I definitely think they pushed me when I didn’t think I had anything left,” senior Natalie Smith, a senior, said. “And they believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself…There is so much I am going to miss, the way she motivates us every day, her practices, and her humor.” 

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