Head women’s swimming coach Steve Collins has announced the addition of Anna Heller as the program’s assistant coach. Heller comes to SMU after a successful season as part of the Texas A&M women’s staff.
“I am very excited that Anna will be joining the SMU swimming and diving program,” Collins said. “Anna has experience as a club coach and most recently was a part of the staff at Texas A&M that finished third at the NCAA Championships. I feel her experience as an elite athlete and coach at Texas A&M will be very valuable as we build the program at SMU.”
The third-place finish for the Aggies was the highest in program history and came off the heels of a second consecutive SEC Championship.
Heller also has extensive experience at the club level, having served stints with the Aggie Swim Club and Hillsboro Heat (Hillsboro, Oregon). Serving as head age group coach, Heller was tasked with developing practice plans, leading swimming and dryland workouts and planning activities and community service events outside of competition.
Heller holds certifications from USA Swimming and the American Swim Coaches Association (Level 2).
Before shifting to coaching swimming exclusively, Heller served as a strength and conditioning intern at the University of Portland where she led the strength and conditioning and nutrition efforts of the women’s basketball and tennis programs.
A two-year letterwinner for the Aggies, Heller was part of a Big 12 Championship team in 2012 and held times in the program top 10 of the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes. Prior to her time in College Station, Heller competed at Oregon State where she was part of a 400-yard medley relay school record, holds the second fastest time in program history in backstroke events and is in the school’s top 10 in both individual medleys. She was also an NCAA qualifier in 2010.
In 2012, Heller was a qualifier for the US Olympic Swimming Trials and, in 2015, she qualified for USA Swimming Nationals.
Heller is an avid volunteer for the David Heller Foundation, an organization which seeks to educate and create awareness about sudden cardiac arrest in teen athletes. The funds raised for the organization have exceeded a quarter of a million dollars. Heller manages social media content for the group and has volunteered at cardiac screenings over the years, helping over 1,200 athletes ages 13-19 get screened.
“To have the opportunity to work at SMU, a University and program with a rich tradition of excellence, is such an honor,” Heller said. “With the great leadership from the staff, to the committed student-athletes, and the outstanding facilities, I am excited to help in continuing to build the program. I am looking forward to working with head coach Steve Collins and would like to thank him and [Senior Associate A.D. for Compliance and Sport Administrator] Kyle Conder for their support and belief in my abilities as a leader and a coach. I am very appreciative of my time spent at Texas A&M and I am looking forward to this new opportunity at SMU. Pony Up!”
Originally from of Scappoose, Oregon, Heller graduated from Texas A&M in 2013 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism and a sports management minor.
“This is an exciting time for Anna to be joining SMU, with the opening of the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center on Nov. 3. We are looking forward to a great season and future for the SMU women’s swimming and diving program,” Collins added.
Press Release courtesy of SMU Athletics.