Northwestern continues to round out its new combined-gender coaching staff, adding Canadian Olympian and former Arizona standout Jake Tapp to the staff two days after hiring Megan Hawthorne.
New Northwestern coach Jeremy Kipp pulled Hawthorne from his old staff at Boise State, and grabs Tapp from the former staff at Wisconsin. Tapp had coached there one season under Whitney Hite before the Badgers hired Yuri Suguiyama to take over the program.
Previously, Tapp had coached at New Mexico and IUPUI. He’s better known at this point for his swimming career, where he was a 13-time All-American and a two-time NCAA individual runner-up while swimming for Arizona. He was part of the Wildcats 2008 NCAA title-winning team. He now joins a different breed of Wildcat – the Northwestern variety – as part of Kipp’s new staff in the Big Ten.
The full Northwestern press release is below:
EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern Director of Swimming and Diving Jeremy Kipp announced the addition of assistant coach Jake Tapp to the Wildcats’ staff.
Tapp, a former Olympian and world-record holder, comes to Northwestern after serving as an assistant coach at Wisconsin for the past two seasons.
“I had the pleasure to watch Jake mature as a world-class athlete when he was swimming at Arizona,” said Kipp. “Jake’s incredibly calm demeanor and inability to become rattled are qualities that will allow him to be a great mentor to our student-athletes, especially in pressure-packed moments. He was part of a national championship team at Arizona and he brings an understanding and passion for swimming at the highest level with him to Northwestern. As a swimmer, Jake was world-class and now he has set his goals on becoming a world-class coach and we are so excited that he recognizes the same potential in the Northwestern program.”
“I am very excited to join the Northwestern family and have the opportunity to work with Jeremy, the coaching staff, the team and the administration,” said Tapp. “I am honored to be a Wildcat and I look forward to being part of such an incredible institution and building continued success with the program. Go Cats!”
Tapp’s announcement comes two days after Meghan Hawthorne was named an assistant coach.
During his time in Madison, Tapp helped guide the women’s program to a pair of top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, while assisting the men’s side to a top-20 finish in 2017. Last season, the Wisconsin women placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships with five Big Ten records and a pair of individual champions. The Badgers had three All-American performances and three Honorable Mention All-American honorees at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
In his first season on the UW coaching staff, Tapp helped both the Badgers men and women to impressive finishes. The Wisconsin women took third place at the 2017 Big Ten Championships for their best conference showing since 2005, while the men claimed fifth place to secure a third-consecutive top-five Big Ten finish — a feat the program had not achieved since doing so from 1999 to 2004.
Tapp joined the Badgers after spending the 2015-16 season as an assistant at New Mexico, including a stint as interim head coach of the Lobos, who sponsor only women’s swimming and diving. Prior to that, Tapp spent two seasons as an assistant at IUPUI as he transitioned into the coaching ranks.
A native of Langley, British Columbia, Tapp enjoyed a successful career on the international stage, highlighted by representing his native Canada in the 100-meter backstroke and 400-meter medley at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Tapp was part of a Canadian quartet that broke the short-course world record in the 400 medley relay in 2009 and still holds national records in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke.
Tapp competed collegiately at Arizona, where he helped the Wildcats claim the NCAA team title in 2008. Individually, Tapp twice finished as NCAA runner-up, taking second in the 200-yard backstroke as a junior in 2009 and in the 100-yard backstroke as a senior in 2010.
A team captain for the Wildcats as a senior, Tapp finished his collegiate career with 13 All-America honors and still holds Arizona’s school record in the 200 backstroke, at 1:38.67. He graduated with a degree in business administration.