COLUMBIA — The Show-Me Showdown on Saturday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center was not only the premiere of the 2010 Missouri swimming and diving team but also the debut for its new head coach Greg Rhodenbaugh.
“I was excited to see the team swim against others, not just other members on the team,” Rhodenbaugh said. “I am already pleased with the way the swimmers are thinking.”
What caught Rhodenbaugh's attention was that the team was ready to compete and to do well. Both the Missouri men's and women's teams won the Show-Me Showdown.
Rhodenbaugh was an assistant coach for the Arizona Wildcats for 11 years before moving to Missouri.
“When I moved from Arizona, I knew it was time. I grew up in the Midwest and was looking for a reason to come back,” Rhodenbaugh said. “Once I was here, I knew I was supposed to be here.”
Not only was Rhodenbaugh excited to see his team’s performance, but he also was excited to be reunited with SLU coach Jim Halliburton.
Rhodenbaugh and Halliburton competed and won the U.S. National Championship Relay together in 1983 for the Cincinnati Marlins Club Team.
"It was great to see him again. I'm glad that he got the job, and I think he will do a wonderful job with the Missouri team," said Halliburton.
Arizona had a championship culture unlike the Missouri swimming and diving team. In 2008 he helped coach the mens and womens national championship teams.
"Over time we had built a championship mentality where everyone expected a lot going into the program ... We always had a shot to win and they trained and raced like that," said Rhodenbaugh. “We had a lot of equipment that was vital to our success. It will take time to get that here. Maybe three to four years to develop a system. But we are figuring it out. It is challenging, but rewarding.”
Arizona has 24 power towers which help condition swimmers, while Mizzou only has three, said Rhodenbaugh.
"It's hard because only six of our swimmers can use it at once, where as Arizona's whole team could use them at the same time," said Rhodenbaugh, "We are just trying to figure out what other equipment to use to substitute and be able to use in this setting."
Rhodenbaugh left Arizona for many reasons, including that he wanted to "build something."
“I’m looking forward to building up this team. It has a good foundation, but I want to get it to a level that it hasn’t been at, which is exciting,” Rhodenbaugh said, “They just don’t know what they can be, so we are trying to show them.”
Senior Melissa Jamerson appreciates Rhodenbaugh's mentality.
"He has a lot of philosophies on how to train," she said. "Mainly he wants to make us better people, not just swimmers. Everything we do has a purpose; he doesn't just make us swim back and forth. He pushes us and tells us we can be great and have potential, which makes us push past our boundaries."