Adam Schmitt enters his sixth season as head coach of LSU’s swimming and diving teams, and the programs continue to thrive under his direction.
With his vision and leadership, Schmitt has guided the teams to some of their most productive seasons in recent history, both in the pool and in the classroom. During Schmitt’s tenure at LSU, his athletes have amassed 53 All-America honors and have posted 27 school records that remain standing today. In addition, 105 student-athletes have been named to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll in a five-year span.
Moving forward, he wants to expand on that success and bring the glory days back to LSU swimming and diving. As one of the most decorated swimmers in Tiger history, Schmitt experienced what only one team in school annals can claim ? winning an SEC Championship. As he continues to stockpile talented athletes from not only the United States but the international levels as well, Schmitt has hopes of leading the teams back to the top of the SEC and pushing both programs into the nation’s elite.
With another fine season in 2008-09, Schmitt and his teams look to be well on their way to reaching their goals.
Last year, Schmitt led the Lady Tigers to a 16th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, their highest finish in eight years, while the men’s team ended the regular season ranked in the top 25 of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll for the third-straight year. The Tigers’ coach also directed his athletes to 25 All-America honors and 21 school record-breaking times.
The Lady Tigers finished the dual-meet season with a 7-3-1 record, their fourth-consecutive year with a winning record, and sent four athletes to the national meet. Collectively, those four ? Katie Gilmore, Monica McJunkin, Katherine Noland and Jane Trepp ? returned home with 12 All-America honors, including first-team recognition in the 200-yard medley relay, and claimed six new school records.
Furthermore, Trepp became the fastest female swimmer in school history, registering a time of 22.49 seconds in the 50 freestyle, and broke two more records in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, while senior Vanessa Duenas overtook the longest-standing school record in the books ? a 23-year-old mark in 200 fly. Freshman Samantha Goates also swam to a program-record time in the 200 backstroke during the regular season.
The men’s team capped the dual-meet season with seven-straight victories, its longest winning streak in 14 years, and qualified six athletes to NCAA’s. All five swimmers at the national meet ? Julius Gloeckner, Hannes Heyl, Sean LeNeave, Christoph Lubenau and Brandon Selts ? garnered All-America accolades in relay competition, and Lubenau became an All-American in the 100 fly with a top-16 finish and school-record time for the second year in a row.
The LSU men also set nine more program records with the Tigers shattering four of the five relay marks and Gloeckner emerging with program-best times in the 200 free, 200 and 400 individual medleys and 200 fly.
Outside of the pool, the 2008-09 season proved to be another banner year in the classroom as 30 student-athletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, and the Lady Tigers received CSCAA Scholar All-America Team honors for both the fall and spring semesters. Moreover, Gloeckner was named the 2009 SEC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for demonstrating excellence in both the classroom and the pool and was one of four swimmers to be recognized as CSCAA Individual Scholar All-Americans along with Noland, Trepp and Clint Hallum.
Schmitt and his staff also continued to lay the foundation for the future in 2008-09, hauling in a pair of stellar recruiting classes, which were both ranked in the top 15 nationally by CollegeSwimming.com for the first time in school history.
When Schmitt took the head coaching position in 2004, he sought to develop his swimmers into NCAA and SEC scorers, but also mature athletes who could make an impact in national and international competition. Not only did he guide 11 swimmers to All-America honors in his first four years as coach, but he also helped a pair of swimmers, Miko Malberg and Heather Brand, reach the highest level of international achievement ? a spot on their respective country’s Olympic team.
Malberg went on to set an Estonian national record in the 50-meter free at the 2008 Olympic Games, while Brand swam for her native homeland of Zimbabwe in Beijing.
However, Schmitt also wants his American athletes to excel on the national and international stages and eventually have the chance to represent the United States at future Olympic Games. Since 2006, his athletes have taken big steps forward in this regard as former Tiger Matt Coenen became the school’s first U.S. national champion with a record swim in the 200m breast, while three LSU swimmers ? Katie Gilmore, Kevin Braud and Stephanie Cota ? competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June 2008.
The successful development of these athletes and the program can be attributed to Schmitt’s rigorous dual-meet schedule, which has been a constant at the school for the past five seasons. LSU has gone up against 21 opponents ranked in the top 10, and the Tigers plan to continue that formula this season.
Schmitt has aspirations of bringing the program back to the standard he helped construct as a student-athlete many years ago. Multiple participants in international games, a top-six NCAA finish and a 1988 SEC swimming and diving championship were all accomplished when Schmitt was a swimmer at LSU. Schmitt hopes to attain these goals as a coach as well.
Individually, Schmitt capped his LSU career by capturing the SEC title in the 50-yard freestyle three times. He is also one of the most accomplished swimmers in school history, earning a total of 10 All-America honors during his career. Schmitt’s All-America awards include being a three-time recipient in both the 100 free and the 400 free relay as well as being honored twice in the 50 free and the 400 medley relay.
The 43-year-old still holds the LSU record in the 100 free with a 43.22 clocking, which he set in 1988. He ranks third in school history in the 50 free with a time of 19.65, also recorded in 1988.
On the international level, Schmitt was a member of several U.S. National teams and participated in the 1986 Goodwill Games, the 1987 World University Games and the 1991 Pan American Games. He was the 1989 U.S. Open champion in the 50-meter free, and he was a finalist in that same event at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Schmitt, a native of Houston, Texas, served as associate head coach at Arizona State for three years prior to returning to his alma mater. Schmitt’s championship pedigree began when he was an assistant coach at Auburn for four years, helping the Tigers to one NCAA title and a pair of NCAA runner-up finishes.
At Auburn and Arizona State, Schmitt’s expertise in the sprint races helped produce multiple top-eight NCAA finishes in both individual and relay races for both schools during his four- and three-year tenures.
Internationally, he placed many athletes on U.S. and foreign national teams, including the 1999 and 2003 Pan American Games, 2002 Pan Pacific Championships and the 2005 World Championships. Schmitt has coached many U.S. Olympic Trials finalists and helped one Arizona State swimmer secure a spot as an alternate for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
Schmitt’s other collegiate head-coaching stop came at Long Beach City College where he served for one season.
Schmitt is a 1989 graduate of LSU in marketing, and he is married to former Stanford swimming All-American Aimee Berzins. The couple has two daughters, Hannah (12) and Haley (8).
The Adam Schmitt File
Born: April 21, 1966 in Hammond, Ind.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Wife: Aimee Schmitt; Stanford, 1989
Children: Hannah (12) and Haley (8)
High School: Cypress Creek, Houston, Texas; 1984
College: LSU, 1989; B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing)
1996 Head Coach — Long Beach City College
1997-2001 Assistant Coach — Auburn
2001-2004 Associate Head Coach — Arizona State
2004-Present Head Coach ? LSU
THE SCHMITT COACHING ERA AT LSU
BY THE NUMBERS
53 — All-America honors collected
27 — School records broken that still stand
2 — 2008 Beijing Olympics participants he has coached
1 — U.S. National Champion
3 — 2008 U.S. Olympic Trial participants he has coached
1 — SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
30 — 2009 SEC Academic Honor Roll members