After an 11-year career with the Newport High School Swim Team, head coach Angie Sremba has announced her coaching retirement to concentrate on her professional work.
“Leaving the NHS swim team was a difficult decision, but it is time for the next chapter in my life,” Sremba said. “I will remember my days — and early mornings — on the pool deck fondly and wish the team best of luck in the future.”
Sremba joined the NHS swim team in the fall of 2009 as an assistant coach. Two years later, as she was starting her Ph.D. program with Oregon State University at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, she assumed the role of head coach, a position she held for the following nine years.
In this position, Sremba’s vast experience and knowledge of the sport acquired through years of competitive swimming at the club, high school and collegiate levels were key to building a highly successful program. During her time as a head coach, she elevated the NHS swim program to an unprecedented level of excellence and success in the local high school athletic community.
Key achievements include:
• Three 4A OSAA boys state championships (2018, 2019, 2020);
• Two 4A OSAA boys state second place finishes (2013, 2014);
• One 4A OSAA boys state third place finish (2017);
• Nine consecutive 4A OSAA District 1 boys titles (2012-2020);
• One District 1 girls title (2020 — first one since 2001);
• Three-time recipient of OSAA 4A Boys Team Coach of the Year Award (2018, 2019, 2020).
Sremba credited the strong support of her assistant coaches, including two long-term assistants, Gavin Santiago (eight years) and Shawn Martin (five years), as a key factor for these successes.
As she reflected on her experience, Sremba noted that “juggling graduate school and leading a high school swim team was never easy, but the relationships with the student athletes made it worth it; watching the swimmers grow in confidence, learning to work hard and growing as a team throughout the season and then culminating in their final performance of the season at their district and state meet.”
Her strong ability to connect at a personal level and motivate swimmers to reach their potential was a common theme among former NHS swim team members. Clayton Jacobson (NHS Class of 2011) said, “Angie has a special talent of motivating people on an individual basis. That motivation and drive to improve yourself as a swimmer has been a key to Newport’s continued success.” Kellen Wood (Class of 2013) added, “Angie always pushed us towards greatness, both in and out of the pool, and never allowed us to settle for less. Her ability to motivate was the reason the program was able to achieve such success during her time.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Caden Shanks (Class of 2020), who noted, “One of the greatest qualities about Angie was how she would have more faith and confidence in us than we had in ourselves.”
Her former swimmers also appreciated the genuine interest Sremba placed in their wellbeing. Ally Bachart (Class of 2017) noted that she “will forever be grateful for having Angie Sremba as my high school swim coach. Not only did she teach me how to be a better swimmer, but also a better person. She was an amazing coach, and I also gained a lifelong friend.”
Sremba’s support extended well beyond the pool. “Angie made being part of the team mean so much more than just swimming, which made the team feel like family. Angie and my relay teammates still are my best friends,” said Elena Ellingson-Cosenza (class of 2016).
Assistant Coach Gavin Santiago said, “Coaching with Angie has been a fun and positive experience. I have learned a lot about coaching, and the experience has also helped me grow as an individual, for which I am very grateful.”
As she moves onto the next chapter of her life, Sremba is currently working as a research associate with NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory at the marine science center and will be transitioning into a position in the Cooperative Institute of Marine Resource Studies at Oregon State University in February 2021.