The University of Michigan Swimming & Diving program has announced the remainder of its overhauled staff for the 2021-2022 collegiate season. In addition to the previously-reported hire of Priscilla Barletta as an assistant, three other staff announcements were made on Wednesday.
Cauli Bedran has been elevated to assistant coach after spending 3 seasons. Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medal-winning diver Michael Hixon will return to the staff as a graduate assistant in diving, and Ksenia Gromova joins the staff as a volunteer assistant in swimming.
The moves were precipitated by the departure of assistant coaches Nikki Klett, who stepped away from coaching after last season, and associate head coach Rick Bishop, who left to become the head coach at LSU.
Michigan 2021-2022 Swimming & Diving Coaching Staff
- Head coach – Mike Bottom
- Diving coach – Mike Hilde
- Associate head coach – Dr. Josh White
- Assistant coach – Priscilla Barletta
- Assistant coach – Cauli Bedran
- Assistant coach – Sam Wensman
- Graduate assistant coach (diving) – Michael Hixon
- Volunteer assistant coach (swimming) – Ksenia Gromova
Bedran, a native of Brazil, has worked primarily with the sprint group during his time with the Wolverines.
Prior to that, he spent 1 year as an assistant coach at Bowling Green, where the women’s program finished 5th in the MAC in 2018. Prior to that, he spent 1 year as head coach and aquatics director for NCAA Division II school Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan after 6 years as an assistant at Division II Wayne State.
Bedran was a 2010 graduate of nearby Wayne State University, finishing a degree in political science in 2010. He also worked on a Ph.D. in comparative politics while serving as an assistant coach.
As an athlete, he was part of one of the top D2 swimming programs in the country at the time. He personally earned 24 All-America honors out of a maximum 28 possible and was part of three top 3 team finishes at the NCAA D2 National Championship meet. In the 2009-2010 season, he was named the Wayne State Male Student-Athlete of the Year and was inducted into the Wayne State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
Gromova comes to Ann Arbor from Duquesne University, where she spent 2 seasons as an assistant coach. Prior to that, she spent 2 seasons as the head coach at Lindenwood Belleville, where she coached the men’s team to 3 individual titles in the NAIA and the women’s team had the NAIA’s highest GPA.
She also has previous stops working with high school and age group swimmers at the Nitros Swim Club in Austin, as a graduate assistant at Incarnate Word, and as a swimming associate head coach at Olympic Reserve School 7 in Yaroslavl, Russia.
She swam collegiately at Ouachita Baptist and San Diego State, graduating with undergrad degrees in chemistry, biology, and Russian and a master’s degree in chemistry. She would later earn a 2nd master’s, this one in administration with a concentration in sport management. She has also trained under Dave Salo at USC, Steve Schaffer at Grand Canyon University, and worked at swim camps at both USC and Texas A&M.
Hixon is the most accomplished athlete on the Wolverines’ revamped staff. Hixon began working with Michigan as a graduate assistant last season while attending the Ross School of Business. He was the NCAA Diver of the Year as a freshman at Texas and later, after transferring to Indiana, became the NCAA Champion as a senior at Indiana.
Hixon has won the last two Olympic silver medals in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard diving event. He paired with Sam Dornan in 2016 and after Dornan’s retirement hooked on with Andrew Capobianco to repeat that feat last week in Tokyo.
Michigan had a tumultuous 2020-2021 season, facing the death of a swimmer and a number of shutdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of that, the Michigan men won their 42nd Big Ten Championship, which was also their second-straight. They finished 12th at the NCAA Championships in March.
The Michigan women finished 2nd at Big Tens, about 250 points behind a deep Ohio State team, but still managed to be the highest-placing Big Ten team at the NCAA Championships in 6th – one spot ahead of their rivals the Buckeyes. That’s in spite of a key relay leg, Daria Pyshnenko, retiring just before the NCAA meet.
Among swimmers who will return next season for the Wolverines is Maggie MacNeil, who won NCAA titles in the 100 fly and 100 free and was the runner-up in the 50 free last season. Her 100 fly swim of 48.89 made her the first woman ever under 49 seconds in that event. She is also the defending World Champion and Olympic Champion in the 100 fly in long course.
MacNeil has entered the NCAA transfer portal, but says that she plans to finish the 2021-2022 academic year at Michigan before exploring her options for the COVID-awarded 5th year.
The Michigan rosters list only one athlete using a 5th year of eligibility – Australian diver Ross Todd, the 2020 Big Ten Diver of the Year.