Northwestern Hires ASU Associate Rachel Stratton-Mills As Next Head Coach

James Sutherland contributed to this report.

Northwestern University has found its new swimming & diving coach, naming Arizona State associate Rachel Stratton-Mills as the new leader of the program on Friday.

Arizona State head coach Bob Bowman was the first to break the news with a goodbye post on Instagram.


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A post shared by Bob Bowman (@coach_bowman)

Northwestern made the news official at noon ET on Friday.

Stratton-Mills replaces Katie Robinson, who left at the end of June to become the new Stanford women’s associate head coach under Greg Meehan.

Stratton-Mills heads to Evanston after spending six seasons at Arizona State, having first been hired as an assistant in 2017 before being promoted to associate head coach in 2019.

“I am honored and excited to join Northwestern University as Director of Swimming & Diving,” said Stratton-Mills.

“I have always admired Northwestern as an institution, and the opportunity to lead the finest student-athletes in the country is a dream come true.

“Northwestern swimming & diving is perfectly positioned to be champions in the pool while maintaining our world-class reputation for academic excellence. I want to thank Dr. Derrick Gragg and the entire search committee for their trust in my vision for this program. My family and I are so grateful to become a part of the Wildcat Family, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Sources have told SwimSwam that Stratton-Mills primarily coached the short distance women’s group. One of their most recent sprint free successes comes from Molly Batchelor who qualified for the NCAA Championships this past season in the 100, 200, and 500 frees.

Prior to ASU, she was head coach of Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics in New York from 2010-2015. In 2015, she went across the country for 15 months observing 60 swimming programs to learn more about how a coach can find success in swimming.

Stratton-Mills was also a member of the all-female coaching staff for the DC Trdient during the 2019 season of the International Swimming League.

This past season, the Northwestern women finished sixth at the Big Ten Championship before going on to finish 28th at NCAAs. The men’s team finished seventh at Big Tens and sent two swimmers and one diver to NCAAs.

Prior to her time at Asphalt Green, Stratton-Mills served as an assistant coach at both Maryland (2008-10) and Dartmouth (2006-2008.)

A native of Los Gatos, California, Stratton-Mills graduated from UCLA in 2002 with her bachelor’s degree in sociology while being a member of the women’s swimming and diving team.

The Northwestern coaching staff as a whole will look a lot different this season. In addition to Robinson’s departure, the team has also had associate head coach Andrew Hodgson leave to become associate head coach at Alabama, and its volunteer assistant from this past season Kim Williams took a job as assistant coach at Cal.

The Northwestern men welcome one of the top recruiting classes in the country to campus this fall. The class includes SwimSwam’s #18 ranked recruit for the boys’ high school class of 2023 Cade Duncan, Honorable Mention Diego Nosack, and “Best of the Rest” swimmer Aaron Baltaytis. The girls’ class includes Best of the Rest Maggie Papanicholas.

James Sutherland contributed to this report.

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3 months ago

must be a great hire! she single handedly led SOOOO many women to victory! excited to see how northwesterns swimming turns out with SUCHH an excellent coach 😉

3 months ago

Steph is a phenomenal coach. She should be considered for any and all of these high level assistant positions. That’s all I have left to say.

3 months ago

Great hire for NW! You watch. Bowman & ASU will definitely struggle with this departure.

3 months ago

Congratulations just continue to getterdone n have fun

3 months ago

They both should call the girl at NCstate. She’s the lead with Kennedy Noble. Shocked she didn’t go to Duke with Brian. She is good at what she does, won’t ever get recognized for it

Reply to  HappCoachNC
3 months ago

And yet you are only referring to her as “the girl at NCstate.” Doubt you would refer to any of the men on staff that way.

3 months ago

What is with all of the thumb downs on comments?

Reply to  ChangeUp
3 months ago

Some team is not a fan of this news apparently

3 months ago


Kevin Aronson
3 months ago

Going to miss Rachel and Glenn here in AZ. Glenn has done wonders with my young daughter’s swim technique. The Chicago area and Northwestern are very lucky to get two amazing & passionate swimming people. Best of luck, Rachel!

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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