The Northwestern women’s swimming & diving team has hired Abby Steketee as their new head coach to replace the outgoing Jimmy Tierney, who left the program in April after 27 years. Steketee joins the Wildcats after three years as the head coach at Nevada in Reno.
Steketee is originally from Danville, Virginia, but is a 2003 graduate of Northwestern where she was a captain of the Crew team and was selected as Most Valuable Rower three times. She also worked with the Northwestern Aquatic Swim Team in Evanston, a local club affiliate.
Nevada finished third at the Moutnain West Conference Championship meets each of the last two seasons under Steketee. They sent three atheletes (two swimmers and one diver) to the 2015 NCAA Championships, including Yawen Li, who was 9th in the 400 IM with a 4:05.56.
During her tenure, Steketee took at least one swimmer to the NCAA Championships each season, with a combined four different athletes earning at least one berth. That’s as compared to just two different swimmers from Northwestern going in the same time period, with no Wildcats qualifying in 2015.
The new coach will take over a slumping program that finished 10th out of 13 teams at last year’s Big Ten Championships. That was the program’s lowest finish since placing 10th (then out of 10 teams) at the 1983 Championship meet.
Prior to taking over at Nevada, Steketee was an assistant at South Carolina for four seasons. While at Nevada, her husband Steve, also a Northwestern graduate, was one of her assistants, and Abby Steketee says that while staff decisions haven’t been made yet, she anticipates Steve having a major role with the team.