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.
It’s safe to say it’s been a strong start to 2023 for University of Texas women’s head coach Carol Capitani.
Capitani, who is in her 11th season as the head coach of the women’s squad in Austin, has led the Longhorns to four consecutive dual meet victories in January over highly-ranked opponents, as Texas topped #5 Alabama and #7 Ohio State on Jan. 14 and then rolled past #4 NC State in back-to-back meets last weekend.
In the two duals against NC State, the Longhorns were absolutely on fire, highlighted by the team setting new Big 12 Records in the 200 and 400 medley relay, and multiple swimmers posting the top time in the nation this season.
Emma Sticklen (1:51.37) and Dakota Luther (1:51.58) powered to the top-two spots in the NCAA in the women’s 200 fly, Erica Sullivan grabbed the #1 ranking in both the 500 free (4:35.88) and 1000 free, and Kelly Pash took hold of the top spot in the 200 free (1:42.73). Sticklen also joined the elusive sub-50 club in the 100 fly (49.79), and freshman Lydia Jacoby broke her own girls’ 17-18 National Age Group Record in the 100 breast (57.45), ranking #2 this season.
One week prior to the meet against the Wolfpack, Capitani was named the head coach of the U.S. women’s team for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, making her the first female head coach of a U.S. team at either the Olympics or World Championships in 11 years.
Capitani and the Longhorns will wrap up the regular season this weekend before taking on the Big 12 Championships in late February and the NCAA Championships in mid-March.
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