John Carroll Swim & Dive Announces Mark de Swardt As New Head Coach

Courtesy: JCU Sports

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS – The John Carroll Swimming & Diving program has an exciting new leader.

Mark de Swardt has been named the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming & diving program at John Carroll University, as announced by Director of Athletics Brian Polian ’97.

“I am very excited about the addition of Mark as our head swimming and diving coach,” said Polian. “Throughout the process, I was very impressed with Mark’s level of expertise, his approach to working with young people, and vision for the program moving forward. In particular, I was blown away by the sacrifices that he and his family have made in pursuit of his dream of coaching. This is clearly a calling for him and that is the type of passion that we want in our department.”

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the student-athletes at John Carroll University,” said de Swardt. “I hope to continue the great work done by coach Tanner Barton and to grow this program into a top tier D3 program. I would like to thank Director of Athletics Brian Polian for the opportunity to lead this program. I am extremely excited to get to work. Finally, I want to thank Lisa Ebeling and the entire team at The University of Northern Colorado for allowing me to learn and grow into the coach that I am today.”

Undoubtedly, de Swardt brings an impressive resume and an inspiring story.

A native of Durban, South Africa, de Swardt brings nearly a decade of coaching experience after a very successful Division I swimming career at nearby Cleveland State.

His coaching career began in his hometown in South Africa as Head Triathlon Coach for the Triathlon Training Academy. From 2016-21, de Swardt developed and implemented training programs for triathletes of all ages and abilities. Additionally from 2019-21, de Swardt served as an assistant swimming coach for the Seagulls Club.

Prior to the 2021-22 season, de Swardt returned to the States as a volunteer assistant coach at The Ohio State University. He helped in a variety of ways, including assisting with recruiting, providing individualized feedback to swimmers, and helping to run daily swim practices.

During the past two seasons, de Swardt coached at the University of Northern Colorado as an assistant. Over the past two seasons, he assisted with organizing and conducting practices, developed training plans, played a key role in recruiting, and aided with team travel and budgets.

This past season, Northern Colorado finished fourth at the Western Athletic Conference Championships and in third at the 2023 WAC Championships.

Prior to his coaching career, de Swardt enjoyed a prolific collegiate career of his own. Over the course of his freshman campaign, de Swardt became one of the best distance swimmers in Cleveland State and Horizon League history. He won 32 races, including all three of his individual swims at the Horizon League Championships with titles in the 500 Free (4:26.00), 1000 Free (9:08.01) and 1,650 Free (15:02.06, NCAA “B” cut). De Swardt was unanimously selected as the league’s Swimmer of the Meet, Swimmer of the Year and Newcomer of the Year after leading the meet in points scored (60). Both the 1000 and 1650 Free times were league and CSU records.

As a sophomore, de Swardt won the 1650 Free and 400 IM at the Horizon League Championship. As a junior, he notched the Horizon League’s Swimmer of the Year Award again. He missed the 2011-12 campaign, never easy to do, before roaring back for his redshirt senior season to nab Swimmer of the Meet honors.

“His experiences as a decorated swimmer, as well as coaching in the collegiate and international settings, are going to be a wonderful resource for our student-athletes,” said Polian. “I am proud to welcome Mark, Jocelyn, and their son, Tristan, into the Blue Streak family.”

De Swardt is the seventh full-time men’s coach and eighth full-time women’s coach in the history of the programs at John Carroll.

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26 days ago

Congrats Mark! Great to see you take on a well deserved opportunity!

1 month ago

Wonder if he would have gotten the CSU position had these jobs opened up in the opposite order…? Should have been on the Vikings radar as soon as they knew they were making a change.

1 month ago

Congrats Mark. Well deserved .

1 month ago

JCU got a good one! Congrats Mark, great things to come!

1 month ago

Congrats Mark and welcome back to Ohio!

Gig ‘em
1 month ago

Wow, can’t believe the wealth of coaching experience he has! Really great resume with the triathlon club. Great hire.