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Swimmer Buoyed by Supportive Coaches, Professors
For accounting major Keegan Goan ’14, his record-setting swimming career and impressive academics were the result of a large support system of coaches and faculty at Elms who helped him succeed.
“I have a lot of people around here who make sure I stay out of trouble because of my stellar swimming career and my stellar academic career. They want to see me succeed, and I think they’d be pretty upset if I did not,” the Westbook, Maine, native said.
There’s no question that Keegan has been successful, inside and outside of the pool: He broke 29 school or pool records at Elms (he still holds 13). He also accomplished a 32-1 record in the 50-yard butterfly during regular season meets. During his four years at Elms he won 10 Great Northeast Atlantic Conference (GNAC) titles, was named to the All-GNAC team three times, the All-New England Team three times, and the Academic All-American Team all four years. He will also graduate with a GPA surpassing 3.5 and hopes to become a financial analyst or investor.
It wasn’t all calm waters, however. Keegan’s college swim career was dogged by illness and injury.
“I had mono (Mononucleosis) freshman year with strep at the same time - that threw me for a loop,” he said. “Sophomore year I got kidney stones, and I’ve been plagued with shoulder injuries. Senior year I was fine until the last swim meet, and I came down with the worse flu I’ve ever had. I tried to swim through it, and passed out. I had to be hospitalized at the University of Rhode Island.”
Despite the setbacks, Keegan ended his college swim career on a high note: swimming in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), in Annapolis, Maryland, where he and teammates competed against Division 1 teams.
Although Elms was eliminated early, “We were facing the best of the best. It was a great way to cap everything off.”
Goan has high praise for both Men and Women’s Swim Coach Bill Tyler and Assistant Coach Corey Soutra.
“They are definitely the best coaching tandem for the swimmers. They pushed me to limits I never thought I’d be able to do, and they were the type of coaches you wanted to succeed for,” Keegan said. “There’s just not enough good things I can say about them.”
This spring Keegan, along with Kevin Welsh '14, received a Spirit Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The award acknowledges students who demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit and have acted upon their desire to own their own businesses. Keegan and Kevin had a booth demonstrating their basketball trading card business in April at the Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative Awards Ceremony and Banquet at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. They received a special award for having one of the top displays.
Keegan also singled out several faculty for taking a personal interest in making sure he succeeded academically.
“Steve Sobel-I’ve only had him for two classes, but he’s one of those professors that really talked to us, not through us. Amanda Huston went above and beyond in her classes, and if you need to get in touch with her you can, it’s very easy. She just makes it so easy to succeed that you want to succeed,” Keegan said.
“I’ve had every professor in the accounting and business department, and they have a lot to offer. They treat us like adults, not high school kids. They really push us, and I feel that anybody who would come here would be successful with those professors,” he added.
Keegan also praised his adviser, David Kimball, and his parents, Westbrook Middle School teachers, of whom he said, “I don’t think they missed more than two swim meets my entire four years of college.”
He is happy with his decision to attend a small school and not a bigger university, such as La Salle in Philadelphia, where his older brother Kyle graduated.
“This school has just been awesome. And I’ve been telling everyone, because I have friends who are still in high school, ‘Come to Elms.’”