A Tribute to Trip Breen

Arista Roesch

Staff Writer

                At Wilmington College, it’s no secret that students have the opportunity to become close with their professors and coaches. But there are times when their impacts on students aren’t fully recognized, and we can sometimes take these relationships for granted. College is a hard time, mentally, emotionally, and even physically, and with many of us being away from our families, we come to rely on the figures here on campus to get us through the tough times.

                In honor of all his help getting students through the swim season, the WC Swim team wanted to recognize Trip Breen for everything he’s done for them, especially this season.

                “Trip has given me something that is completely intangible, yet the best part of my college years: memories. Memories of tough practices my teammates got me through, that night in Florida we danced for 2 hours straight, taper time and all the excitement that comes with that, the laughs and inside jokes I share with my teammates. All of this encompasses one incredible college experience that I and all my teammates have him to thank for.” –Liz Miller

                “A good coach inspires you to be the best you can at your sport, but a great coach inspires you to be the best person you can be, and that’s exactly what Trip Breen is: a great coach. He not only pushes his athletes to become better swimmers, but to become better human beings, and I am so thankful I had him for a coach.” – Leslie Stiffler

                “Trip is one of the best role models and coaches, for not only a sport, but for life, that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Trip is there for each and every one of us on the team, more than I think any coach I know of or have had, both on and off the pool deck. He’s something special, and when he preaches how we need to be not just a team, but a family, I know it isn’t some generic speech like most coaches give; he actually means it and we are his family. Sometimes I wonder if he realizes how much of an impact he’s truly made in out swimmer’s lives. From teaching technique, to telling us to do better, to giving us jobs and tutors, to even helping us fill out tax forms, Trip’s generosity and aid to every single person on this team knows no bounds. At the start of this school year, when I was fighting a bout of depression, I went to him and explained what was going on, he was willing to work with me, and talked to me about keeping my head up and staying positive. Even on the days I didn’t want to get out of bed, or even think about stepping foot on the pool deck, I reminded myself I needed to stay positive, and that my team was counting on me to be the best I can be, and Trip was counting on me to be a leader. I look up to Trip. He’s touched more lives than anyone else, and made an impact on each and every one of them. Every swimmer on this team holds him with high regard and respect, including myself. I see how he handles the team; firm, but caring. It’s not always apparent, but I aspire to be like him. I want to be a person that people look up to, respect, and can go to when they need something. He is everything anyone should hope to be, and I’m honored to have gotten to know and swim for him.” – Caroline Kruczynski

                “Trip is someone anyone could honestly count on. He is probably one of the most understandable people there is on campus. You can go to him for something simple such as schoolwork or something complex and personal like family issues. The beginning of this season, I think, threw him a curveball, and we ended with another one. Still, through these hard times, he reminds us of how important it is to stick together as not only a team, but as a family. Our support for each other is what makes us so different from other teams, and I think that is something he is able to hold highly of us. He is constantly reminding us that we are attending this school for our education first and foremost and that our studies are most important. He is willing to find us tutors or do what it takes for us to strive in our school work, and then he is able to create another atmosphere at practice that makes us want to be better athletes and individuals. He is definitely someone you can joke around with but also go back and have a deep conversation with. I can go to him to talk about financial problems, or statistics about peeing in the showers and pool. He really is overall just a great person.” – Jordynn Wise

                “Something I really appreciate about Trip is his perspective on swimming. He always tells us that swimming is a privilege. He wants us to challenge ourselves, give every swim our all, and improve, but, most of all, he wants us to have fun and grow as a team. Going into our OAC Conference Meet, he told us to “out team the other teams;” right before my first event he told me to “be confident and have fun.” He could have reminded me of all the technique I needed to focus on, and told the team that we all needed to get Best Times and place well so we could win conference, but he didn’t. He doesn’t just want us to excel in the pool; he wants us to excel in life. He doesn’t just want us to be dedicated athletes; he wants us to be dedicated students, family members, friends, and teammates.” – Haley Rowland

                “I can honestly say that my Wilmington College experience would be completely different without Trip. He has not only helped me in the pool, but Trip also has taught me many life lessons. At the start of my freshman year, I was in a serious car accident. With being 4 hours away my parents had no idea who to call or even knew anyone down here. My parents had Trip’s phone number and called him. With barely knowing me, he came to the hospital and sat with me until my family came. With that being my first impression of him, I knew that coming to Wilmington would be the best decision of my life. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable in swimming and knows how to help improve our strokes, he also does so much more for us as a team.  Trip continually teaches all of us perseverance, motivation, and success. He reminds us we are here for school and know that academics are the most important. Trip doesn’t allow us to let our grades to slip and keeps close tabs from our professors. Although this does make us nervous, Trip wants the best for us. He will do anything for the team whether it is going out to buy us cold medicine to just being an open ear when we are having a rough day. When I fill out any paperwork, he is my second emergency contact, first one being my mom, second being him. I physically can’t repay Trip for everything he has done for me over the last 3 years. I would not be where I am today without him. I am beyond blessed to have chosen Wilmington College as a place I call home and could not imagine any college experience without swimming under Trip.” – Chelsea Simpson

“Trip is more than a coach to us, he is a father. He always puts our school first and will help is in any way to make us succeed. He will make practices to fit school schedules and if yours still doesn’t fit, he will do a one-on-one. He will take whatever we throw at him, whether it’s “I’m pregnant,” or “My mom just passed away.” He really goes beyond the label of a couch and needs some nice recognition. He doesn’t go a second where he doesn’t put others in front of him. He has personally helped me get my job as an RA, helped me with court and financial aid, and anything else. My experience here would be so different without the man I look up to, the man who inspires me, the man who has taught me so much, the man who keeps me straight when I’m weak.” – Rachel Routzong

I think that it’s apparent that Trip Breen is more than just a coach, not only to his swimmers, but to others on campus as well. He’s caring, thoughtful, and considerate. There are times when we take what we have for granted, and take advantage of the things that we become comfortable with. And sadly, Trip may not realize how much he means to his team. But as they go through OACs, they want him to know just how important he is to them and how much they look up to and respect him, both as their coach, and as a mentor.

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0 Thoughts to “A Tribute to Trip Breen”

  1. AvatarMary Rose

    As a faculty member, I too believe that we are graced to have Trip as part of the Wilmington College team. I honestly tell parents and students who are considering Wilmington College that Trip is a coach I completely trust to have the students’ best interest in mind at all times. He is a true professional and I witness the trust & respect his swimmers have for him weekly!

  2. AvatarJulie Creech

    Trip Breen is a truly amazing person. He embodies what a man, coach, and mentor should be. Trip is the reason I attended Wilmington College, and the reason I would make that same decision again and again. Trip serves as a rock to so many at Wilmington College. He provides the motivational encouragement you want and the discipline you need, all with a smile on his face and compassion in his heart. I find it challenging to describe what all Trip means and has meant to me, because it is beyond words. He transformed who I was to who I am. Yes, he made me faster in the pool and he made me stronger in the gym, but he also made me a better teammate, a better student, a better woman. Trip pushes his athletes to strive to their highest, in and out of the water. Trip places academics before swimming, and the team before the individual. EVERYONE is important to Trip, fast or slow, big or strong. Trip Breen is a class act, the best of the best. He deserves far more credit than he receives, but instead remains humble. Trip Breen is like drop of water in the pool of your life, he may only be one man, but boy, does he change the flow of your life!

    1. AvatarChelsea Simpson

      Julie Creech! Why are you soo fantastic? I absolutely love that last line sooo much!

  3. AvatarJosh Shell

    One of my favorite memories of Trip is seeing him on all fours at OAC’s cheering on a relay. We all love and respect Trip to death, but when you see him screaming “NOW!” at you in the OAC Championships you knew you’d better give it 110%.

  4. AvatarMariann Henderson

    I am so excited for my son Wyatt to join this swim program. Knowing that he will have Coach Trip there when taking this huge step into adulthood makes me fee more at ease.

  5. AvatarJohn Ravestein

    I am the swim coach/person I am today because of the investment trip made into my future. Thanks Trip. Keep it up.

  6. Trip was a fantastic coach to swim for, a kind and inspirational person, and like John said, I wouldn’t be where I am now without Trip’s influence. (No, seriously – he wrote one of my recommendation letters for law school). Great to see this recognition, because he deserves the heck out of it.

  7. AvatarMelissa Mehl

    I had the pleasure of swimming for Trip for two years and it was definitely the best two years in a lifetime of swimming. Anytime I pick up a weight when I workout, I can still hear him saying, “Howard, you can lift from now until the day you die, and you still won’t bulk up”. He is a great coach and it is wonderful to see him getting this recognition.

  8. AvatarBobby Shanesy

    I kind of knew how to swim when I enrolled at Wilmington College. Trip helped sharpen that aspect of my life, but I will be forever grateful for the values and lessons he taught outside of the pool: Patience, perseverance, humility, kindness, discipline, compassion, and loyalty. He was there for me and every one of my teammates in the good times and the not-so-good times that we all faced as young adults. Trip is what every coach should aspire to be. A truly great man that is worthy of any and every praise lavished on him. Thanks for everything.

  9. AvatarCarrie Ware

    I only swam one season with WC, and let’s be honest…I was an absolutely TERRIBLE swimmer! But it was something I loved to do. I had done it since my youth and thought I would give it a try. Trip never ever made me feel any less than amazing, part of the team, a competitor. I enjoyed the comradery of my teammates, the challenge of bettering myself with each swim, and being led by such a motivating coach. Although my biggest contribution to the team may have been singing the National Anthem at home meets (with my good friend Tina Dell in the FABULOUS acoustics of the Natatorium!), I would tell any swimmer of any level to seek out that tall, blond-headed, friendly-looking, smiling face you can find deep in the basement offices of the athletic building. Trip if you read this, thank you. Thanks for being awesome and you should know that you deserve all of this!

  10. AvatarTyler Scheid

    Trip Breen, he is a man, not one that is macho and buff, but a true man that takes things to heart and means the things he says. He is that guy who is always in your corner when you need him and still there when you don’t. He is a man who knows that character, will, and integrity are more important than talent. This man knows what being a coach means and goes above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you for everything you do!

    I may have only swam for one season at WC (after three years of coercion from Trip and Mark Fernandez), but it is something I will never forget!

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