Competitor Coach of the Month: Carol Capitani

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.

University of Texas women’s head coach Carol Capitani led the Longhorns to new heights at the 2022 NCAA Championships, earning a runner-up finish to mark the team’s best showing since 1994.

After Capitani and her staff propelled Texas to its first top-three finish in 20 years at Women’s NCAAs in 2021, falling just shy of the second-place NC State Wolfpack in third, the Longhorns defied the odds in 2022 by upending the revamped Stanford Cardinal and earning the runner-up spot in the team race.

The Longhorns scored 406 points to edge out the Cardinal (399.5), with the Virginia Cavaliers successfully defending their title with 551.5.

Texas had seven different swimmers put points on the board at the meet individually, led by junior Kelly Pash who set personal best times in all three of her events en route to placing third in the 200 free, fifth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 200 fly.

Sophomore Olivia Bray (34 points) also made the championship final in three of her individual races, and freshman Erica Sullivan (33 points) rattled off season-best times en route to placing second in th 1650 free and third in the 500 free at her first NCAAs.

Fifth-year Evie Pfeifer and sophomores Anna Elendt and Emma Sticklen also contributed 25+ points individually, while relays and diving also performed exceptionally well.

Trailing by 19 points with two events to go, Texas had three divers in the ‘A’ final of platform diving—Jordan SkilkenJanie Boyle and Paola Pineda—and they overtook the Cardinal in that event and held them off in the 400 free relay. You can get a visual perspective of the battle between the two teams here.

The Longhorns ultimately outscored their projections (psych sheet points) by 83.5 points in the pool, which was the most of any team at the championships.

Capitani, who took over as Texas’ head coach in 2012-13, has now led the Longhorns to top-10 NCAA finishes in eight of her nine opportunities (not including the canceled 2020 NCAA season), with a steady ascent the last three years. Coming into 2020-21, the team’s highest finish under her watch was fifth in 2019, and now they’ve reeled off consecutive third and second-place finishes.

Joining Capitani on the Longhorns women’s staff this season was assistant coach Mitch Dalton, along with head diving coach Matt Scoggin and his assistants Manny Pollard and Bryce Klein.

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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NM Coach
4 months ago

FANTASTIC JOB CAROL!!!!

coach
4 months ago

100% deserved. Great job.

Last edited 4 months ago by coach

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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