Sean Schimmel will be announced Monday as the new head coach for the women of the University of Arkansas today, multiple sources have confirmed to us.
Schimmel is departing a Maryland program that will soon cease to exist after coaching both the men’s and women’s programs for the last three seasons. He has previous stops include as a top assistant at Harvard, but he also has plenty of experience in the SEC as he spent time as the associate head coach at LSU.
He had the Maryland women’s program on a great track before they received the axe, including a 22nd-place finish at NCAA’s in 2011. That includes over 20 All-American honors and multiple ACC championships.
Schimmel will go to an Arkansas job that was vacated when Jeff Poppell reutrned to Florida both to be closer to family, and for the lure of big-time high school swimming that first made him famous while at Bolles.
The Arkansas women placed 6th at SEC’s last year, 70 points behind Schimmel’s former team LSU. But with Amanda Kendall transferring from LSU to Arizona, that’s a gap that can be made up in a good year. The Lady Razorbacks are best known for the depth of their distance group, though Schimmel made his money at Maryland with sprinters of a variety of strokes.
But Poppell left Schimmel with some pieces to play with in that department, including some elite incoming talent. That includes Slovenian Nina Drolc, who has already been a 25.9 in the 50 free in long course and 56.7 in the 100 (and is equally adept at short course). Stephanie White will be just a sophomore next season, but led the Razorbacks in 2012 with a 49.8 in the 100 yard free. Another freshman, Nikki Daniels, was a 1:01.6 in the 100 breaststroke.
Schimmel will have some work to do to develop the backstroke and butterfly groups, but those are right in his coaching wheelhouse.