Competitor Coach of the Month: Dave Collins

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.

The Missouri State women’s team roared to their eighth straight Missouri Valley Conference Championship title on Saturday, the 12th in the career of head coach Dave Collins.

Collins, who joined the team in 2012, was named MVC Swimming Coach of the Year for the eighth time after the Bears amassed a record total of 1463.5 points at the championships.

In addition to winning the meet by 169 points, topping runner-up and pre-championship favorite Indiana State, Collins led Missouri State’s top swimmers to several lifetime best performances en route to the title.

Senior Lily DeSpain swept the 500 free, 200 fly and 400 IM, setting personal bests across the board and a new conference record in the 400 IM.

Sophomore Lana Janson also set a trio of best times en route to runner-up finishes in the 200 free and 200 IM and a 7th-place finish in the 100 free, while fifth-year senior Jordan Wenner capped off her Missouri State career with PBs in the 50 and 100 free on the way to a pair of 2nd-place showings.

The likes of Kelly SegoAnika LamSophia Dela Coleta and Anna Lucas also set at least one PB to score 60+ points individually, and the team also delivered in the relays.

The Bears set new MVC Records in the 400 free, 800 free and 400 medley relays, highlighted by an epic victory in the 400 free relay at the end of the meet, with DeSpain holding off SIU’s Celia Pulido by eight one-hundredths of a second in 3:18.87.

“What a week,” Collins said, according to Missouri State Athletics. “I’m so proud of these ladies and all that they accomplished.

“This year’s senior class was on a mission to continue our winning tradition. From day one they have been committed to team success and leaving a legacy. At the end, I thanked them for giving everything they had to this team. The greatest compliment a coach can get is the full trust of his athletes. I love these girls and I will continue to support everything they do long after tonight. I am so proud of each of them.”

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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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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