Kate Kovenock was named assistant coach for the Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team by head coach Brian Barnes in the spring of 2009 after serving as an assistant coach for the men's and women's teams at Division III powerhouse Kenyon College. The 2014-15 season will mark her sixth with the Irish program.
During her time with the Irish Kovenock has been a key asset to a program that has continued it's successful history under Barnes.
Kovenock played a key role in another outstanding season in 2013-14 as the Irish tied their best showing at the NCAA Championships (T-16th) after transitioning from the BIG EAST to the more competitive Atlantic Coast Conference and placing sixth at the league meet. Highlighting the year was junior Emma Reaney's national championship and American record in the 200-yard breaststroke. In all, Reaney earned three All-America certificates at the NCAA meet. Eight Irish swimmers advanced to the NCAA Championships - seniors Kelly Ryan and Christen McDonough, juniors Suzanne Bessire, Bridget Casey, Reaney and Courtney Whyte and freshmen Katie Miller and Catherine Mulquin.
The six-year Irish assistant has been especially instrumental in the maturation of Ryan, who closed out her career with a personal best in the 200 free as part of the 800 free relay at the NCAA Championships to finish off a spectacular Notre Dame career that saw her earn one All-American trophy, two honorable mention All-America certificates and participate at the NCAA Championships three consecutive years (2012-14).
The 2012-13 season was an historic one for the Irish as the squad finished a school-best 16th at the NCAA Championship meet with 55 points, which is the second most in program history. In addition, Reaney earned All-America honors in both breaststroke events, while Reaney and four of her teammates collected eight honorable mention All-America scrolls. Closing out her brilliant Notre Dame career at the NCAA Championships was Kim Holden, who made a remarkable recovery from double shoulder surgery after her sophomore year to earn two honorable mention All-America certificates as a senior. Reaney, meanwhile, went on to star at the U.S. Open in the summer before being selected to the 2013-14 US Swimming National Team.
2011-12 was no different as two student-athletes earned All-America honors and eight earned a spot at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Highlighting the season were Ryan and the first-year star Reaney. Ryan was named an All-American in the 200 back and swam three events at the Olympic Trials, while Reaney earned honorable mention All-America accolades in three events (100 and 200 breast, 200 IM) and competed in four events at the Olympic Trials, including a semifinal appearance in the 200 IM. Reaney also earned a spot in Sports Illustrated's Faces In The Crowd for the Jan. 16th edition.
During her first two years with Notre Dame, Kovenock helped tutor Irish standouts Samantha Maxwell, Amy Wren Miller and Holden. Maxwell, the 2010 BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer after having a hand in four titles (100 and 200 breast, 200 and 400 medley relay), earned All-America honors in the 100 breast and honorable mention All-America accolades in the 200 breast as a sophomore in 2009 and honorable mention All-America honors in the 100 breast as a junior in 2010. She also competed at the NCAAs in 2011. Miller received All-America accolades as a junior in 2010 in the 50 free, while Holden competed in three events at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
During Kovenock's first season in 2010, the Irish won their 15th and final BIG EAST title in a row to extend the longest streak in league history regardless of sport. After 2010, the Irish claimed second three consecutive years before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2013-14 season.
Away from competitive action, Kovenock has helped plan and organize with Barnes three Coaches vs. Cancer Fighting Irish Swim Clinics that have raised over $45,000 for RiverBend Cancer Services and the American Cancer Society.
During Kovenock's four years at Kenyon, the women's program won three NCAA Championships (2007, 2008, 2009), the men's program won four NCAA Champions (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), and Kenyon swimmers earned over 240 All-American awards in NCAA competition.
On deck at Kenyon, Kovenock worked under legendary head coach Jim Steen and was given specific training responsibilities with the men's and women's sprint groups. Over the course of four years, a Kenyon swimmer won the 50 freestyle NCAA title twice (2007, 2009) and the NCAA record, which still stands today, was broken once (2009).
In addition to her coaching duties, Kovenock coordinated recruiting for the women's program. After back-to-back NCAA runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2006, the swimmers recruited during Kovenock's tenure sparked a resurgence for the women's program, playing key roles in Kenyon's three titles from 2007-09.
As a sprinter at Connecticut College (Div. III), Kovenock captured an individual NCAA Championship in the 50 free (2004) and earned 11 individual NCAA All-American awards (2002 - 2005). At the conference level, she went undefeated in the 50 and 100 freestyle events over her four years.
Kovenock's collegiate career was marked by academic accolades as well. Graduating with a B.A. in honors philosophy, Kovenock was selected to the CSCAA Scholar All-America team during each of her four years and was named to the prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-America Team during both her junior and senior campaigns.