The University of Toledo has hired Olympian and former head sprint coach of the University of Utah Jonas Persson as their head women’s swimming and diving coach, announced University Vice-President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien on Friday.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jonas Persson as the head women’s swimming and diving coach at the University of Toledo,” O’Brien said. “Jonas has an outstanding background in the highest levels of swimming, both internationally and collegiately. I am excited to have someone with his experience and passion for the sport join the Rocket family.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Toledo program,” said Persson. “Toledo has great potential and the athletic department is taking the right steps in order to be more competitive, both athletically and academically. While visiting campus, I knew right away that Toledo is a place where I can make a great impact. I’m looking forward to meeting the team and start recruiting right away. I want to express my appreciation to Mike O’Brienand (senior associate athletic director) Kelly Andrews for trusting me with this great opportunity.”
Persson worked specifically with sprinters at Utah, achieving great success in that program. Over the past five years he has helped the men’s team break every school record on the books, along with aiding the women in achieving 17 of their own records. Persson has coached seven swimmers to the NCAA Championships, the highest level in collegiate swimming.
One of Persson’s greatest coaching accomplishments was helping Utah sprinter Nick Soedel become the first ever Utah swimmer to medal at the Pac-12 Championships, winning bronze in 2013. He went onto win the 100 free in 2014, and also placed 5th in the 100 free and 14th in the 50 free at the 2015 NCAA Championships. He also coached All-American Traycie Swartz, who finished 11th at the 2014 NCAA Championships in the 100 free.
Persson, hailing from Sweden, was formerly a successful sprinter himself, representing his country at the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing. Persson competed in the amazing 400 free relay in Beijing, helping the Swedes to a 5th place finish. He also had success individually, qualifying for the semi-finals in the 100 freestyle, ultimately finishing 13th. He remains a Swedish record holder in both the 400 free and medley relays from 2008.
Persson swam collegiately at the University of Tennessee, where he was a 13-time All-American and a team captain.
Here are some quotes on Persson and what he’ll bring to the Toledo swim team:
“Jonas is one of the best young coaches in the country. He is hard working and an excellent recruiter. His experience as an Olympic athlete, along with his great success as the head sprint coach at Utah, will serve him greatly in this position.”
– Lars Jorgensen, University of Kentucky Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving Head Coach / Former Toledo Women’s Swimming Head Coach
“While all of us at Utah are sad to see Jonas go, I could not be happier for him or more proud as he takes on his first head coaching position. Jonas is an innovative and passionate coach, and I have no doubt he will infuse the Toledo program with energy and bring them to new levels of success.”
–Joe Dykstra, University of Utah Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving Head Coach
“Jonas has a passion for the sport that translates every day at the pool. His practices are very demanding but he always finds a way to make it interesting and fun. He knows how to get a smile out of you even if you’re having a bad day. He’s a great communicator who gives equal attention and enthusiasm to everybody on the team. For me, he really helped me focus on what I was already good at and helped me become great at it.”
–Traycie Swartz, former University of Utah Swimmer
Find the release on the University of Toledo’s website here.