Soon after we learned that a third Indiana University coach would be departing the program, as Caitlin Hamilton was named the new head coach at Illinois State, the Hoosiers’ staff is reloading in a big way.
SwimSwam reported last week that coaching veteran Jonty Skinner is expected to fill the void left by associate head sprint coach Coley Stickels (who is the new head coach at Alabama), and now, head coach Ray Looze is adding former Arizona associate head coach Cory Chitwood, known primarily as a distance coach, to his staff. Indiana assistant sprint coach Kirk Grand also left IU in April, potentially leaving one more assistant spot open.
A 2012 Arizona graduate and swim team captain, Chitwood was an assistant under current Arizona head coach Augie Busch at the University of Virginia and made the move back to Arizona with him in July 2017. At Virginia, the now-30-year-old Chitwood was the primary coach for Olympic medalist Leah Smith during her NCAA career. Smith followed him to Arizona after taking bronze in the 400 free in Rio, and has recently hit her stride in the 800, going a best time at the Richmond Pro Swim Series early in April.
Chitwood, along with Indiana’s Looze and Louisville’s Arthur Albiero, was an assistant to Greg Meehan on the Team USA women’s staff of the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Chitwood and fellow Arizona assistant Beth Botsford, as reported by SwimSwam, parted ways with the program last month. Chitwood’s major Worlds appointment, coupled with his NCAA assistant coaching success, put him in the conversation as a potential candidate for one of the many open NCAA head coaching positions.