Interview with Southwestern’s New Coach

After their recent tragedy, Southwestern has named a new head coach, Jon Duncan. Despite being a D1 grad (Purdue) and an Olympic Trial qualifier (100 free), Jon has made his name in D3 Swimming. He assisted at DePauw and was the head coach at Rhodes for 6 season. We wish the best of luck to Jon on his new position.

What attracted you to Southwestern?  What excites you the most about the job?

Southwestern has a outstanding academic reputation and wearing shorts everyday of the year will be nice.  Southwestern is a fairly new program that started in 1998.  I feel we have tremendous potential in becoming a strong D3 Swimming and Diving program in the next few years.

I first heard of Southwestern from Loren Pope’s book ‘College’s That Change Lives’, it sounds like an amazing place with great opportunity, is one of your biggest challenges simply getting the word out about Southwestern?  If yes, how do you plan on doing that?

Yes,  Southwestern is located in a small but growing town of Georgetown, TX., located 30min North of Austin, TX. There are only a handful of D3 institutions in the state of Texas that offer swimming and diving.  My goal the first few months is to contact and visit club/high school coaches in the area and surrounding cities (Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio).

What event are you most looking forward to at next year’s Olympics?

Men’s 4×100 free relay,  2008 4×100 USA Men’s 4×100 free relay was amazing to watch.

If you could bring in a freshman to win any event at the National Championships next year, which event would you choose and why?

It would have to be the 100yd free.  He/She would be a huge impact swimmer on relay’s and relay’s win meets.

If you could have a sandwich with anything on it for lunch, what do you have?

Turkey, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles, and Spicy Brown Mustard.

I’ve often thought that there should be a d3 power in the state of Texas.  Am I right?  If so, can it be Southwestern

Who knows, I feel we can have success here but its going to take some time and a lot of hard work. Right now we need depth and students who want to compete in D3 swimming.

Along those lines, can you talk about the challenges and opportunities of d3 swimming in Texas?

I have been recruiting Texas for six years now and there is this persona that most high school seniors will only swim in college if it is a D1 or D2 program or not swim at all.  Getting to word out to high school student-athletes and coaches that D3  swimming is competitive, will be a challenge.  Though all I have to do is give him/her a list of this years D3 NCAA  qualifying standards and they can see it is very competitive.

You return only 12 athletes to the team next year, and just four on the men’s side.  How do you build from that right away?

I want our recruits to see we have a strong team bond.  We are a young program with very little alumni.   Our team must learn to build a family like atmosphere which includes a sense of tradition.  Potential recruits need to have a wonderful experience with our team and know they can grow here academically.

One of the returners was top 8 at Nationals last year, talk about how that fits into your plans of moving forward?

Sarah Ayers did a fantastic job last year and I look forward to coaching her this season.  By having Sarah attending and swimming for Southwestern, I believe we can attract more swimmers of her caliber with a little time and commitment to recruiting.

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