Competitor Coach of the Month: Todd Desorbo, Virginia

Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

Back in September, 84% of SwimSwam voters predicted more rookie-year success for head coach Todd Desorbo at Virginia than for his predecessor Augie Busch who took over in Arizona. Boy did y’all nail it.

Desorbo’s impact was measurable at both the men’s and women’s ACC Championships, where the Virginia Cavaliers exploded back onto the ACC scene.

The Virginia women weren’t exactly in need of a turnaround, having won 9 of the past 10 conference titles before Desorbo’s arrival. But with the graduation of key NCAA scorers Leah Smith, Laura Simon, Kaitlyn Jones and Ellen Thomas, the cupboards were awfully bare in Charlottesville.

But Desorbo’s crew dominated, led by a stellar sprint group that won all three freestyle relays and placed 13 swimmers into A finals between the 50, 100 and 200 frees.

Then the next week, Desorbo hit the road with the Cavalier men, a group who had fallen on extremely hard times and finished just 6th at the ACC Championships in 2017.

Those men outscored their projections by about 150 points, finishing 3rd as a group and far overperforming compared to expectations.

Desorbo’s first season in Charlottesville should have Virginia fans incredibly excited for the future of the program.

About Competitor Swim

Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.

Competitor Swim is a SwimSwam partner. 

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Factoring in that Todd and his staff have only been there for 6 months, it’s pretty amazing what they have accomplished with this team … I can only imagine how excited the recruits for the classes of ’22 and ’23 are to get there ASAP and join in the FUN!

Al Albertson

Maybe we should just give DeSerbo a throne, cloak and a shiny pair of new shoes…

Steve Karl

Good one, Al AlbOrtsEn.

Dilly Dilly

if the crown fits!

ex quaker

I agree with your sarcastic point. Why give credit where it’s due? Makes no sense.

Down South

Jay Holmes and Jason Calanog at Texas A&M should not go unmentioned. SwimSwam projected a 5th place (786 points) finish and they finished 2nd (994 points). Thats a 208 point outscoring of projections. They drastically improved their team top to bottom and are suddenly a player on the national scene. Built on depth, specifically in breaststroke and IM, Jay and Jason are proving that the Aggies are the real deal.

The 994-786 math is a little disingenuous. One of those numbers includes diving, the other doesn’t. But, it was still a huge performance for them, and a big momentum-builder for the program.


If you include diving into their final score A&M actually lost points to the psych sheet.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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