Meet The Newest Owls
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In coordinating the training program with Rice head coach Seth Huston, Caldwell has helped every member of the team achieve her best personal level of success. Working with each Owl to get better at an individual level has, over the course of half a decade, made for better team results.
The 2017 season may have been some of her best work yet. Not only did Owls set three new individual school records and one relay record, Rice swimmers won a total of four Conference USA titles on the way to a second place finish in the C-USA meet standings. Marie-Claire Schillinger blazed to C-USA titles and NCAA ‘A’ cuts with new school records in the breaststroke events. Junior Kaitlyn Swinney meanwhile set the new school record in the 400-individual medley and freestyle sprinter Lauren Rhodes was named the C-USA Newcomer of the Year.
The Olympic year of 2016 was a special one for the Rice swim program as Caldwell had a role in training three Owls (sophomore Kiley Beall along with Schillinger and Swinney) to represent the program at that summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. With a diligence in daily training Rice swimmers won the C-USA Swimmer of the Week Award six times during the regular season to tie for the most of any school in the conference.
In 2015 a Rice relay was back to the NCAA Championships for the first time in 14 years. The owls foursome of Alicia Caldwell, Rachel Moody, Casey Clark and Marissa Konicke won the C-USA championship in the 200-medley relay before going a school record 1:37.04 in a timed trial to punch their ticket to the NCAA Championships in North Carolina as the meet’s No. 11 seed. Individually, Clark won the C-USA title in the 100-butterfly with a school record time of 51.98 and went on to finish 25th in the nation at the NCAA Championships.
By Caldwell's second season with the program in 2014 the Owls were ready for the most dominating performance in C-USA history with two team championshis. Not only did Rice win 11 C-USA event titles (six individual and all five relays), the Blue & Gray zoomed to what is still the highest point total ever recorded at the meet in the league’s history with an eye-opening 1,000-point barrage – and all without a single point earned from the diving events.
Caldwell worked closely training Casey Clark, the 2014 C-USA Swimmer of the Meet who then went on to represent Rice at the NCAA Championships in three events. The Owls’ season, however, still wasn’t quite finished. Caldwell had a critical role preparing the team for the first Collegiate Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) National Invitational Meet, which debuted in 2014 for the host of student-athletes who achieve a National Provisional standard but who are not selected for the NCAA Championships.
The meet quickly gained a popular nickname of The Swimming N.I.T.. Like its counterpart in college basketball, the CSCAA Invitational or The Swimming N.I.T. is a national competition for a postseason title separate that is from the NCAA event. What is unsurprising though is that the Rice Owls out-dueled national power Brigham Young to win the first ever CSCAA Invitational in the spring of 2014. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, Rice finished a solid second in the same postseason meet in the spring of 2015.
In Caldwell's debut season of 2012-2013, the Owls claimed a total of six C-USA events (five individual and one relay race), amassed a total of 11 NCAA "B" cuts and set six new school records. Her hard work and attention to details has helped make Rice Swimming one of the most-respected programs in the region.
Before Rice Caldwell had served as a volunteer assistant swim coach at Georgia Tech, and also the past four seasons as an age group coach for the Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta, Ga. While at Georgia Tech she worked with the distance coach in implementing a specific training program for those events. A total of three of the distance swimmers who she worked with went on to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
At Rice Caldwell assists with all areas of the Owls' swim program and have a primary focus on training sessions, video, team travel and recruiting. Head coach Seth Huston is impressed with her credentials and competitiveness.
"Amanda has been a great addition to our staff," said coach Huston. "She brings in a different skill set and a tremendous passion for coaching and the sport of swimming."
Caldwell was a four-year letterwinner at Youngstown State, where she routinely scored for the Penguins at the Horizon League Championships. To complete her bachelor's degree in 2006, she had an intern coaching position at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Caldwell went on to earn her Masters from James Madison University in 2008.
At the Dynamo she coached several Senior Sectional qualifiers, one swimmer who earned NCSA Jr. cuts, and the rest who competed on the state level. Caldwell has coached age group state champions (individual and relays), as well as age group sectional champions (relays). In her career she served an internship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Caldwell has also worked at different swim camps across the country, including multiple camps in Texas.
A native of Martins Ferry, Ohio, Caldwell is a 2001 graduate of Martins Ferry High School where she served as the swim team's co-captain. She set a host of school records in multiple events.
Caldwell is certified as a member of the American Swim Coaches Association (Level II) and a member of United States Swimming.
Got a question for coach Caldwell? E-mail her here.