Alumna Emily Martin takes over PHS swim program

Swam for the Big Reds from 2006 to ’09

PARKERSBURG — Being the sole applicant for a job can sometimes have its drawbacks, but this wasn’t the case for Emily Martin.

Martin knew what it took to continue the state championship culture surrounding the program. She won multiple state championships during her time swimming for the Big Reds on top of assisting the outgoing Terry Nisewarner during his last three years as Parkersburg’s head coach.

Joining the team as an assistant coach in October 2016, Martin assumed the role of technique and dry-land coach. Those responsibilities included turning each swimmer’s strokes into the maximum effective cut through the water as well as conditioning out of the pool.

She described these areas of assignments as “really finding her niche.”

All the contributions aided in adding back-to-back girls’ team state championships (2017, 2018), and a pair of boys’ team runner-up trophy’s in 2016 and 2017 to the trophy cases inside the PHS Memorial Fieldhouse.

Now, it is her turn to head the program as Big Reds’ athletic director Chris Way believed in her and the Wood County Board of Education approved the hire Tuesday night at the board meeting.

“It just seemed like the next step for her,” said Way on his recommendation of Martin, who spent time swimming for the NCAA Division II Wheeling Jesuit team.

A pace she is looking forward to jumping into as expectations remain high for the team, though she knows it is going to be a challenge.

“Following in Terry’s footsteps is going to be hard. He has done some really great things with this team,” said Martin. “He is a great coach and a great mentor. I learned a lot working with him.”

One of those great things weighing on her mind immediately is the three-peat position her girls find themselves in later this winter. The girls stand on the precipice of a huge achievement with all major scorers expected back minus Olivia Collett.

“Now that the younger girls have had a taste hopefully they are ready to step up and score some points,” said Martin. “I think we will have a really good team.”

The boys team though is just the opposite as only one state point winner returns as six left via graduation.

“We have a young team and are going to be kind of figuring themselves out, but they can do it,” said Martin of them getting to states.

One of her biggest adjustments right out of the gate though will be keeping her entire team in shape from season’s beginning to season’s end. In addition of her assistant duties, she now assumes administrative and workout routines for all of the Big Reds. Lack of experience writing workouts remained one of her main concerns even as she applied for the position. However, she has a great support system in place and, needless to say, is well acquainted with her athletes.

Relationships she looks forward to improving during her tenure.

“Getting these kids to understand swimming is everyone’s sport is what I like most about taking over as a head coach,” said Martin. “In team sports you have the kids who don’t play, but in swimming everyone swims. I would love seeing new swimmers come into the program and watch these kids, any kids, drop time and focus on their goals and the team as a whole.”

Though the wait to see her kids as head coach for the first time borders on four months, the Big Reds rarely do workouts during the three week period as many kids swim and train on their own in the summer, there remains several items to be addressed.

Martin’s working on finalization of the schedule alongside selecting her assistant coach.