The Utah Utes announced today that they’ve restructured their coaching staff, promoting assistants Jonas Persson and Michele Lowry to head sprint and distance coaches, respectively, under head coach Joe Dykstra.
Persson and Lowry were assistants last year, but the new structuring, announced as a promotion, gives their event focus as a part of their new head coaching titles. Persson is now the head sprint coach for the Utes, with Lowry taking over as head distance coach.
“Promoting Jonas to head sprint coach and Michele to head distance coach reflects their enormous contributions to our program, having both coached swimmers to new school records and Pac-12 titles last season,” head coach Dykstra said in the team’s press release.
The move calls to mind coaching structures seen in the NFL, where coaches are hired for their specific position groups (linebackers coach, quarterback coach) rather than as generic assistants. It’s an interesting move that’s not terribly common in college swimming as of yet, though it’s pretty widely known in many programs which coaches tend to coach which groups.
Also in the shuffle, assistant James Winchester has been named recruiting director alongside his coaching duties, which the Utah press release says are focused on IMers and stroke specialists.
Another assistant, Tami Johnson, has been named director of operations and alumni relations.
In addition to the reshuffling, Utah also added two new names: Tess Waresmith, who will be the new assistant diving coach, and Deniz Hekmati, who takes over as strength and conditioning coach.
Utah begins its season at home next Friday against Pac-12 rivals Stanford. The Utes have become a team to keep an eye on, particularly at home, where they pulled off a big upset against the Arizona men early last season.
You can find the full press release detailing the new coaching structure here.