TheCoachesWomen’s Swimming & Diving
Mike Hilde recently concluded his second season as diving coach at the University of Michigan. He oversees both men’s and women’s divers. With an emphasis on platform diving and dryland training, the program has made significant strides in Hilde’s first two years.
In 2016, Michigan had three women’s divers at the NCAA Championships for the first time in 25 years. As a group, the women’s divers scored 171 points at the Big Ten Championships, a monumental increase over the output from the previous year (19). Individually, Hilde coached Allie Murphy to a U.S. Olympic Diving Trials berth, becoming the first U-M women’s diver to qualify since 1988. The previous year, Hilde tutored women’s diver Carey Chen to an NCAA All-America honor on platform, becoming the women’s program’s first finalist on any diving discipline at the NCAA Championships in 19 years.
Hilde came to Ann Arbor after three years with the Mission Viejo Nadadores in Mission Viejo, Calif., where he was the National/International Team Director and an assistant coach. In Sept. 2014, he served on USA Diving’s coaching staff for the 2014 FINA World Junior Championships, held in Penza, Russia.
He was an accomplished collegiate diver at the University of Southern California (2004-07), where he was a four-time NCAA Championships qualifier. In his 12 career diving events at the NCAA Championships, Hilde scored in nine of them, including an NCAA All-America honor in 2006 on the three-meter springboard.
Associate Head Coach
Rick Bishop wrapped up his fourth season on the Michigan swimming coaching staff, mainly serving as the associate head coach for the women’s swimming and diving team. In his tenure, Bishop has been instrumental in helping rebuild the women’s program, culminating in a Big Ten title and top-10 national finish in 2016.
With Bishop’s guidance, the women’s program jumped 26 spots at the NCAA Championships in three seasons, going from 36th in 2013 to 10th in 2016. In 2015-16, Bishop’s swimmers won seven Big Ten individual or relay titles, set 12 short course program records and claimed seven NCAA All-America honors (five individual, two relay). The Wolverines scored more points in four days (150) than in the last five NCAA Championships combined (108).
Bishop has coached several swimmers to international competitions during his tenure at Michigan, including Clara Smiddy and Gillian Ryan (USA — 2015 Pan American Games), Siobhán Haughey (Hong Kong — 2015 FINA World Championships, 2016 Olympics), Marni Oldershaw (Canada — 2013 World University Games), Claudia Lau (Hong Kong — 2015 FINA World Championships) and Samantha Yeo (Singapore — 2015 FINA World Championships).
Associate Head Coach
Dr. Josh White recently concluded his eighth season on the Michigan coaching staff, serving the last four years as associate head coach for the men’s program. The previous four years (2009-12), White was the assistant head coach for the men’s team.
White has kept the strong tradition of distance swimming at Michigan alive. In his eight years, his distance swimmers have won 18 Big Ten individual titles across the distance freestyle events (200, 500, 1,650), with another eight coming on the 800-yard freestyle relay. The distance program was instrumental in helping Michigan win its national championship in 2013, as its swimmers held four of the top nine spots in the 1,650-yard freestyle and five of the top 16 spots in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships. One month earlier at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, Michigan placed 1-2-3-4 in the 1,650-yard freestyle, 1-3-4-6-9 in the 500-yard freestyle and 1-2-3-4-6 in the 200-yard freestyle. Additionally, White tutored the 800-yard freestyle relay team of Connor Jaeger, Anders Lie Nielsen, Justin Glanda and Michael Wynalda to an NCAA record at the 2014 Big Ten Championships. He also mentored freshman PJ Ransford to a second-place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the 2015 NCAA Championships, a swim that broke the 31-year old U.S. 17-18 National Age Group record.
Beyond the NCAA, Michigan distance swimmers have achieved great international success. White coached four of the top nine milers at the 2012 US Olympic Trials including Jaeger, who earned a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and took sixth in the 1,500-meter freestyle in London. After his appearance at the 2012 Olympics in London, Jaeger vaulted to the top of the American distance swimming scene, winning three NCAA championships, winning five medals in international meets and setting American records in both the 1,500-meter freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle.
Kristy Brager is in her first season as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan swimming and diving program. She joined the staff in Sept. 2016 after a four-year stint at the University of Iowa.
At Iowa, Brager worked closely with the breaststroke and individual medley swimmers and served as the recruiting coordinator for the women’s team. Several swimmers excelled under Brager’s watch: Emma Sougstad earned a Top 50 world ranking in the 50-meter breaststroke and set four individual school records, while Roman Trussov was a three-time individual qualifier for the NCAA Championships and was runner-up in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2016 Big Ten Championships. Additionally, both swimmers were NCAA All-America honorable mentions in 2016.
Prior to Iowa, Brager spent two years as an assistant coach at George Mason (2011-12), primarily coaching the team’s primary sprint and middle distance swimmers. She also acted as recruiting coordinator and oversaw all dryland and weight training programs. Among her notable swimmers included Ashley Danner, a two-time NCAA runner-up, and Amanda Kendall, a two-time U.S. Olympic Trials semifinalist and Pan American Games champion.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Dec. 2008 with a degree in economics. She was a four-year letterwinner for the Badgers (2005-08), serving as team captain as a senior and twice earning Academic All-Big Ten recognition (2007-08).
Sam Wensman is in his first season as assistant coach after spending the last three seasons as the program’s volunteer assistant. In addition, Wensman has been coaching professional swimmers with the Club Wolverine Elite Team since 2011.
Wensman, a native of Durham, N.H., was a four-year letterwinner for the Wolverines, swimming from 2008-11 and specializing in the breaststroke. During his tenure, Wensman helped Michigan win three Big Ten titles (2008-09, 2011) and finish among the top 10 at the NCAA Championships all four years.
Wensman graduated from Michigan in 2011 with a degree in sport management.