From being the 2014 and 2015 Maryland Swimmer of the Year as a part of the prestigious North Baltimore Athletic Club to being the 2019 ACC Swimmer of the Year and two-time NCAA Champion at NC State, senior Coleman Stewart has always dominated the pools. With his father having swum at Bucknell, his sister Sada having swum at Princeton and his brother Noah swimming for Dartmouth, swimming is in Coleman’s blood, and the accolades show it.
He made an immediate impact his first year on the NC State swim team in 2017, winning ACC Freshman of the Year. He would also earn All-American honors for the 100 backstroke and 200m medley relays and was an ACC champion in the 200m medley relay.
Stewart’s awards would pile up in the seasons to come. In 2018, he finished with All-American honors in six events and was an NCAA champion in the 100m backstroke, which was the first individual title by NC State since 2006, and 400m medley relay. That year, he also brought home ACC titles in four events: 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 400m freestyle relay and 200m medley relay. He did all of this and was only a sophomore.
In 2019, he finished All-American in seven events and was named the ACC Men’s Swimmer of the Year. He would also take home four more ACC titles in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 200m medley relay and 400m medley relay.
He has had a strong national and international resume. He competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials before he even arrived at NC State. Stewart would then place ninth overall in the 100m fly in the 2018 Summer Nationals, which qualified him for the 2019 World University Games, where he would end up winning his first international medal. At the World University Games, he placed third in 100m fly and broke a personal record with a time of 52.11.
And Stewart is not done yet.
“This is my last year, and I have to make this one count,” Stewart said. “Being one of the captains of the team and showing everyone, especially some of the younger guys, what it takes to get better is what I need to do.”
“Complacent” isn’t a word in Stewart’s vocabulary. Stewart expects the best out of a very strong NC State swimming team and wants more trophies for an already highly decorated program.
“We want to win the rest of the dual meets,” Stewart said. “We want to win ACCs and get top five at NCAAs.”
The Wolfpack has already won five ACC championships in a row, placing fourth in the NCAA championship last year, but Stewart expects a sixth ACC title in a row and another top-five national finish from the Wolfpack. His strong leadership and four years of experience have made this goal very achievable and is one of the reasons the Wolfpack is the No. 6 men’s team in the country.
“When I came in here as a freshman, I wasn’t really one of the top dogs, but now since I’ve had four years under my belt and a lot of experience, my role has definitely changed a lot as a leader,” Stewart said. “I come in with a good attitude mostly every day and I work really hard. I try to lead by example and do what I need to do outside of the pool as well, whether it’s eating correctly or just improving attitude.”
Coleman’s high expectations and standards for himself and his team are what help make him one of the best swimmers in the nation. Not performing his best upsets him, even in practice.
“When I get frustrated in a workout, I usually shut down and go silent and don’t really talk,” Stewart said. “The coaches have gotten on me a lot this year, but I’m trying to do better about that since I’m a senior.”
Despite coming up just short of another individual NCAA title in the 100 backstroke and finishing in second place, Stewart has another good shot this year to try to take home gold. Having the second-best time in the nation at 44.82, the fastest being 44.48, it wouldn’t be a surprise if his lack of complacency and strong work ethic wins him another NCAA title in the 100 backstroke.
Stewart has made a huge impact on the NC State swim program. It would not be unlikely to see Stewart appear or even medal in the Olympics someday, joining the ranks of recent Olympic medalists and NC State alumni Ryan Held and Cullen Jones.