Joe Dykstra - Head Coach
The Utah swimming and diving teams has had an impressive first three seasons under head coach Joe Dykstra.
Last year, the Utes sent 11 student-athletes to the NCAA Championships. The men's side finished 22nd with 40.5 points, the third-best finish (1966, 15th) and the highest point total in Utah school history.
In the classroom, the Utes have placed 44 student-athletes on the Pac-12 All-Academic teams and have had 38 CSCAA Scholar All-Americans. Both the men's and women's teams have the second-highest GPA's in the Pac-12 and men's swimming was second in the conference with a 93-pecent GSR.
Bence Kiraly, Nick Soedel and Jacob Crayne all earned All-American honors for the Utes in their respective events. Kiraly earned honors in the 500 free where he took 12th with a time of 4:15.20. In prelims, he touched in 4:13.83, breaking Utah's school record of 4:14.67 which he set at the 2014 Pac-12 Championships. Soedel also earned All-American honors when he touched in 12th in the 50 free with a time of 19.44. In diving, Crayne took 14th on the one-meter event with a total score of 355.80.
On the women's side, Stina Colleou achieved a time of 2:10.61 in the 200 breast and placed sixth at the 2015 Pac-12 Championships after setting the Utah mark at the 2014 NCAA Championships (2:08.35). Giuliana Gigliotti took seventh in the 50 free at the 2015 Pac-12 Championships, where she recorded her personal-best and Utah's second-fastest mark all-time of 22.28. Also diver Jasmine Matkovic took seventh on platform with a total score of 492.85 at the 2015 NCAA Zone Championships.
The Utes had four All-Americans, set 29 school records, and had 14 NCAA top 50 times during Dykstra's first year. Utah was ranked in the top 25 throughout the season with both teams finishing in the top 35 at the NCAA Championships. The Utah men started out the season with an upset win over 12th-ranked Arizona.
Highlights from Dykstra's inaugural year include Kersten Merry becoming the first female diver in Utah history to earn All-America honors at NCAA's. She finished ninth on platform. Also earning All-America honors was Traycie Swartz in the 100 free (11th), Colleou in the 200 breast (9th) and Josiah Purss on the one-meter (9th). Utah had nine individual qualifiers and eight relay-only qualifiers sent to the NCAA Championships in 2013-14.
At the Pac-12 Championships, Soedel (100 free) and Kiraly (1,650 free) won the first-ever Pac-12 men's swimming titles in school history. Soedel's season-best time in the 100 free of 41.97 was the fourth best in the country in the event this season. Kiraly broke a 25-year old school record in the 200 fly. For the women, Colleou was the top collegiate competitor in the 200 breast event at the US Short Course Nationals, finishing third.
Dykstra, a two-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year, spent seven years as the head women's coach at North Texas before coming to Utah. Prior to North Texas he spent six years as the associate head men's and women's coach at Washington from 2001-06. He was also a four-year swimmer for the Huskies.
Dykstra guided North Texas to a runner-up finish at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championships, the best finish in school history earning co-Coach of the Year honors. Kimmy Phillips became the first swimmer in North Texas' 15-year history to qualify for the NCAA Championships in 2013. The Mean Green achieved a No. 4 final ranking in the 2013 CollegeSwimming.com mid-major poll, the highest ranking in school history. Dykstra, who was also the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2008, led the program to four consecutive third-place finishes from 2009-12. The Mean Green set several school records during his tenure at the school.
In the classroom, North Texas received College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America status every semester from 2007-12. The team posted a 3.62 team GPA in the fall of 2012, the highest among all NCAA Division I swimming and diving teams.
As an associate head coach at Washington, Dykstra helped the Huskies to 19th and 25th-place finishes at the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Championships.
In 1999 and 2000, Dykstra served as a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee. The Volunteers finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships both years, during which time he also assisted in coaching an Olympic gold medal winner and a world record holder.
Michele Lowry, Head distance Coach
MARIUS ALEKSA, ASSISTANT COACH - CAMP COACH & COUNSELOR
Marius Aleksa has been named assistant coach for the University of Utah swim team.
“We are so excited to welcome Marius to our coaching staff,” said Dykstra. “He is young, dynamic and highly motivated to help elevate our program. He was not the most experienced candidate we looked at, but I always try to evaluate potential in student-athletes and took the same approach with this hire. Marius has the intellect, the work-ethic, the personality and many other intangibles that will make him a great coach and recruiter.”
Aleksa makes the move to Salt Lake City following a volunteer stint at Ohio State, where he also coached the OSU swim club. Prior to working with the Buckeyes’ squad, Aleksa spent two seasons at Motor City Aquatics in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he primarily worked with the senior and national groups.
A University of Chicago alum, Aleksa was a four-year letterwinner for the Maroons’ swim team from 2008-2012. Aleksa finished his four-year career with the Maroons, leaving with five school records and having also won the Mary Jean Mulvaney Award for having the highest student-athlete GPA.
Aleksa remains inside the school’s all-time top-10 performance lists in both the 50 free and 100 free events.
“I am incredibly excited to join [head coach] Joe Dykstra and the rest of the staff here at Utah,” said Aleksa. “I look forward to contributing to this special program and continuing in its development.”
Tami Johnson, Director of Operations - Camp Coach
Johnson enters her third season with the Utes and she begins her first season as the program's Director of Operations & Alumni Relations.
As a an assistant coach during the 2013-2014 season, Johnson was part of the staff that saw record-setting performances and one of the most successful seasons in history of the Utah Swimming and Diving program, which included the teams setting 28 new school records, having two Pac-12 Conference individual champions, 17 NCAA participants and four NCAA All-Americans.
Johnson joined the University of Utah coaching staff in August 2012 and during Johnson's first season with the Utes, she coached the breast and fly groups to five individual NCAA `B' cuts and a school record in the 200 breast. She was a part of the 2012-2013 Utah coaching staff that had three individual NCAA qualifiers and set 12 new school records.
Prior to coming to Utah, Johnson was an Age Group Site Coach with the Bluefish Swim Club from 2006-2012. During this time, she enjoyed watching the development of the swimmers and the growth of the site from 5 to 50+.
Johnson also started a Masters group while at Bluefish and worked under USA National Team coach and Bluefish owner, Chuck Batchelor, who has led many swimmers to national and international success.
Johnson grew up swimming for Schroeder YMCA in Brown Deer, Wis., and was a Junior National qualifier as well as part of the team that captured the YMCA Spring National Women's Championship in 1999. She later went on to coach Senior, Age Group, and Masters groups at Schroeder from 2004-2006.
In the summer of 2006, Johnson coached at the Paralympic World Champ Trials with one of the Schroeder athletes.
A 2005 graduate of Iowa State University, Johnson received Academic All-Big 12 honors and graduated 4.0 Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing.
She enjoys staying active through swimming, biking, and snowboarding as well as other hobbies such as playing guitar and writing.
HERBIE BEHM, Assistant Coach
Behm is in his first season at Utah after working with the Phoenix Swim Club and the US National Team. Most recently, he coached the 2015 Pan-American Games record holder in the 100 fly, a 2016 US Olympic Trials finalist and a 2016 Olympic Games qualifier.
Behme has coached athletes to state championships, National Age Group Records and qualifying times from regional events all the way to the Olympic Trials. Some of his athletes have represented their countries internationally, winning medals at World Cups, Pan-American and Commonwealth Games.
A graduate of Arizona State University, Behm received his B.A. in Psychology while minoring in Communications. As a swimmer, he was 10-time High School All-American as well as a former state and NAG record holder.