|Title:||Head Swimming Coach|
Under Ball's guidance, the Central Connecticut State University swimming and diving team has continued its reign at the top of the conference, as the Blue Devils have placed first or second in each of the last seven years. The Blue Devils have won more individual events (70) and team relays (19) than any other Northeast Conference program. Ball’s success with the Blue Devil program is reflected in the team’s 10 consecutive top-three finishes at the conference championship meet.
During the 2012-13 season, Ball led CCSU to its third consecutive second-place finish in the NEC, falling to Saint Francis (PA) by only one point. Central had 10 athletes selected to the All-Conference team (more than any other NEC school) and finished 41st in the Collge Swimming Mid-Major Poll, also the highest of any NEC school.
Ball has guided many swimmers toward achieving superior individual accomplishments. In 2005-06, Jaime Crowley concluded her career with six individual championships, collecting victories in the 50 free and 100 breast. Crowley also was named ECAC Swimmer of the Year award following wins in the 100 and 200 breast events. Teammate Lindsey Snyder was a eight time NEC champion over her four-year career. Snyder, the 2004-05 NEC Rookie of the Year, was also a three-time ECAC champion. In 2008, she was named NEC Swimmer of the Year and earned CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major All-America honors. Three-time NEC Diver of the Year Juliana DiPlacido won four straight one-meter diving titles and three three-meter crowns. Kristen Jurzynski made her mark in the Northeast Conference by capturing the titles for the 500 free, 1,650 free and 400 individual medley, finishing her career with six NEC titles. Last season Erin Crowley culminated her career with three individual victories at the conference meet, giving her six during her final two seasons.
Five years ago, the Blue Devils emerged as one of the top teams in the Northeast Conference. With Ball’s coaching, they set 27 pool records, 15 school records and five conference records. CCSU finished third in the NEC but were the top finisher among full-time members of the Northeast Conference. Jaime Crowley, then a junior, was named NEC Swimmer of the Year after placing first in the 100 breast, 50 free and 200 breast. Crowley also became the second Blue Devil to compete at the NCAA Championships. DiPlacido continued her dominance on the boards, winning the one-meter and three-meter events while earning NEC Diver of the Year for the second straight year. DiPlacido also became the first Blue Devil diver to compete at the NCAA Diving Regionals. Snyder, meanwhile, was named NEC Rookie of the Year after taking home first place in both the 100 and 200 backstroke events.
Ball coached three swimmers and a diver to Northeast Conference
Championship titles in his second season. Crowley, then a
sophomore, placed first and set a new conference record (1:04.84)
in the 100 breast, while Joanna Bocer, a freshman at the time,
placed first in the 500 free. Senior Amanda Kravolic placed first
in the 200 fly, and DiPlacdio was named NEC Diver of the Year after
placing first on the one-meter board. Ball also led two relay
teams to conference titles in the 200 medley and 200 free. Both
teams set new NEC records.
In Ball’s first year with the team, the Blue Devils went 4-10 in dual meet action. With the success of senior Tammie Repass, they brought home a third place finish at the Northeast Conference Championships. Repass was named the 2003 NEC Swimmer of the Year after winning the 500 free, 200 fly and the 400 IM. Repass then qualified for her first-ever Olympic Trial Cut while earning an 11th place national ranking and 51st place world ranking in the 200 butterfly.
Ball called his first campaign as head coach of the Blue Devil women’s swimming and diving team “the most educational year” of his career. “I learned the ropes of becoming a collegiate head coach,” he said.
Ball, who brought a wealth of experience from both the USA Swimming and NCAA levels to New Britain, is the director of the SoNoCo Swim Club. His club team has produced several top-16 national age group swimmers in addition to Junior National, Senior National, Olympic Trial and U.S. Open qualifiers and finalists, national team members and a national record holder. Most recently, Ball placed two swimmers on the U.S. Junior Pan-Pacific Team.
Ball began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant with the University of Connecticut swimming program in 1993, helping the Huskies through the most successful period in the school’s swimming history. Upon his arrival, Connecticut won eight team championships (four New England, four ECAC) and several New England, ECAC and BIG EAST championships.
Ball competed for Southern Connecticut State University, where he received his undergraduate degree. He later earned a Master’s Degree in secondary education from the University of Bridgeport. While at Southern Connecticut, he captained the Owls (1987-88, 1988-89) to a pair of successful campaigns. He specialized in the breaststroke events and, at one time, held several pool records throughout New England. A two-time New England Champion and NCAA Qualifier, Ball was named an NCAA Division II All-American after finishing sixth at the 1987 NCAA Championships.
In 1990, the Connecticut native opened the highly-successful and competitive Connecticut Swimming School, designed for high school swimmers. During its three years of operation, many students achieved national time standards and high school All-American status. The former elected member of the Connecticut Swimming Board of Directors and an American Swimming Coaches Association Level 4 certified coach, Ball has been selected to coach elite training camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as in the state of Connecticut.
A 1999 Enfield (CT) Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Ball and his wife, Karen, reside in Willington, with their children, Billy (22), a graduate of CCSU, and Jason (17).