University of Sioux Falls – College Swimming Startup – SPOTLIGHT

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University of Sioux Falls – College Swimming Startup – SPOTLIGHT

USF aquatic center natatorium

University of Sioux Falls, SD

LemonAid’s mission is to introduce athletes to the opportunity of a lifetime: collegiate athletics. To do so, both athletes and colleges need improved visibility, which is exactly what LemonAid delivers. As a mobile app with a free profile for each user, coaches and athletes can take the recruiting process anywhere, any time. This Spotlight series is to further enhance visibility of LemonAid members. Want your program spotlighted? Let us know!

USF Cougars Swimming

Inaugural Season: 2016-2017

Head Coach: Jon MacColl

Tell us about your swimming and coaching background:

I started coaching at a USA Swimming Club in Temecula, CA two months after I graduated from college.  I moved through USA Swimming Clubs taking positions with larger responsibilities until I landed at Queen’s University and SwimMAC Carolina.  There I met my first real mentors in Jeff Dugdale and David Marsh.  I was the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Queens University and an assistant coach for SwimMAC Team Elite.  After the 2012 season I went to UNLV where I had the pleasure of being the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Jim Reitz and Bobby Folan.   With two successful seasons under my belt I had the opportunity to come to the University of Sioux Falls to start a brand new program and I am thrilled to lead this unique experience.

In your interview, what is the University’s vision for the program?

What impresses me the most about the University of Sioux Falls athletic programs is the quality and professionalism of the athletic leadership and coaches.  The school has high expectations for everyone involved here at USF.  The school made no apologies for being a smaller private Division II university.  They want to be a program that will be competitive at the national level right away, comprised of high level students, who are just as passionate about their academics as they are about swimming.

What is your vision for the program?

My vision for the program from the very start has been to be the best possible option for elite level swimmers who feel that a small school environment puts them in the best possible position to be happy in successful.  We want to be a national power in swimming no matter the level or school size.  We want to break the traditional model that all great swimmers have to go to a large division 1 university in order to achieve success and happiness in the water as well as the classroom. USF has great professors, academic programs, academic support, and the facilities to ensure the success of any student who feels we are the right fit for them.

What are some of your strongest held coaching beliefs?

My strongest held beliefs in coaching I learned from Jeff Dugdale while at Queens University.  The first being that a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.  Students today have lots of great options to go to college and swim.  However, no matter the school resources or reputation, if the student athlete is not having fun in the water and in the classroom, both will suffer.

The second belief I have is that we want to create a training program that treats everyone the same by treating them differently. Everyone in our program is treated as a unique individual with tailored training, based on their goals both in and out of the water.  We take into account more than just swimming; we include dryland, weights, class load, body type, diet, and personal background, just to name a few.

Do you have scholarships? And if so, how many?

Sioux Falls is committed to building a nationally competitive swimming program.  As the program continues to build, we will move closer to the maximum DII equivalency of 8.1.  We also have tremendous academic scholarships for American and International students.

What conference are you in, and who are the other teams in it?

We are a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.  Next year’s teams will include The University of Mary, Minnesota State Mankato, St. Cloud University, Augustana University, Northern State University, Minnesota State Moorehead, and of course the University of Sioux Falls.

Let’s look out three years from now. Describe the program you have built.

First and foremost I would like to describe my team as a group of young women who feel like they have built a family and feel like they are part of something truly special.  I see them as being an academic All-American team in the classroom with graduate school and job interviews on way.  In the water, I see us as a top 10 nationally ranked team doing our best to compete for a national title.

Who are you searching for? Describe your ideal recruits.

I want athletes who think outside the box. We are in a building phase of our team and I am looking for women that have the vision and drive to contribute to something that has never been done before.  I’m happy to say that all the women who have committed to our program so far have demonstrated leadership at their club or high school programs and are prepared to take on the monumental task of creating a truly distinguished program here at Sioux Falls. I believe if we can continue to find truly unique thinkers with the level of swimming talent we have already found we will be a successful program.

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Eric Knight
Eric Knight

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