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.
Queens University of Charlotte has long been a dominant force in the world of NCAA Division II swimming & diving, and Jeff Dugdale has been leading the way for the program the entire way.
After both the men’s and women’s teams roared to their seventh consecutive D2 national titles last season, it was announced in May that Queens was making the transition to Division I.
After so much success in Division II, Dugdale and his athletes were venturing into new territory heading into D1.
Granted, the team was so good in Division II that they actually ousted some D1 teams in head-to-head dual meets, but that still doesn’t diminish the fact that the 2022-23 campaign was the start of a new era for the Royals.
After a month of training, Queens made their D1 debut against UNC on Friday, with both men’s and women’s teams falling 169-88.
The following day was a historic one for the program, as the men and women both earned their first victory as a Division I institution over crosstown rival Davidson, winning 20 of the 28 events on the schedule.
“Our student-athletes learned some valuable lessons yesterday and applied them today resulting in some nice swims across the board,” Dugdale said after the meet. “I walk away from this weekend recognizing that we have a long way to go but very happy to see the progression.”
Having led the Royals to be such a dominating force in Division II, elevating the program to the point where it’s immediately competitive in the D1 ranks upon moving up, is a testament to the coaching and recruiting Dugdale and his staff have been able to produce over a long period of time.
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