From small town aspirations, to international success. That has been the formula for Grenada national swimming coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron.
The 34-year old Ohio University graduate and Athens native coached Esau Simpson to a Grenadian best time in the 100-meter freestyle at the Games. Simpson finished first in his heat, but failed to advance in the competition.
“I am taking with me the memory of Esau’s preparation for the Games and his specific race,” said Bonewit-Cron. “It was so great to watch him win his heat in the morning and achieve a personal best time, new Grenadian National Record, as well as a new Grenadian Olympic Record.”
Bonewit-Cron was named the Grenada swimming coach after Simpson asked her to coach him in the Olympics. Bonewit-Cron coaches Simpson at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, where she is the head coach.
Even after being part of the biggest sporting event in the world, Bonewit-Cron is grateful for her hometown.
“I have often thought about my experience with growing up in Athens and feel that I am grateful for being part of such a great community,” said Bonewit-Cron. “But also having the initiative to achieve my goals, all of which I learned from growing up in a smaller town like Athens.”
Bonewit-Cron began swimming at the age of six after watching her brother compete. Bonewit-Cron was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference first team selection during her four years at Ohio University. She was a 17-time MAC Champion and during her junior season, was named the MAC swimmer of the year.
Following her time in Athens, she became the assistant coach at the University of Florida, before starting the program at Nova Southeastern.
“I could relate to athletes and learned to coach through my mentor,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to continue down the coaching road during my first year at Florida.”
Bonewit-Cron said she will always remember taking part in the Opening ceremony.
“I am so grateful to Grenada for selecting me to walk in the opening ceremonies,” she said. “The electric atmosphere as we walked out of the tunnel and into the stadium is indescribable.”
The Athens High School grad also said she thinks this will not be the peak to her career and wants the opportunity to coach at the Olympics in 2016 in Rio De Janeiro.
“If Grenada allows me the opportunity to coach for them in 2016 in Rio, I will definitely be there,” she said. “They are such a great country that welcomed me with open arms as an American.”
Bonewit-Cron plans to return to Athens and Ohio University this fall, when she will be inducted into the Ohio University Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming weekend in October.