Schinnerer’s 11th season with Bison brings success for swimming and diving

Bethany Blass, Sports Co-Editor

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Head coach of the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams Dan Schinnerer has lead the Bison in a successful start to their first few meets of the season as they look forward to the upcoming annual home invitational. The three-time Patriot League Coach of the Year is in the midst of the 2016-2017 swimming and diving season, which marks his 11th season as head coach of the Orange and Blue.

The Grand Rapids, Mich. native grew up swimming and began his competitive swimming career at the age of six. Schinnerer swam year-round with club teams in addition to swimming with his high school team as he got older. Though swimming is not regarded as an essential athletic program at most high schools, Schinnerer’s high school’s swim team is highly regarded as being one of the athletic teams most participated in at the school.

After high school, Schinnerer went on to be a four-year letterman for Yale University’s swim team, graduating in 2001. As a Bulldog, he was honored with numerous awards and qualified for the prestigious Senior Nationals qualifier while he worked towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.

In consideration of the journey that led to him becoming a swimming coach, Schinnerer recognizes that his passion for swimming is what drew him to wanting to coach the sport.

“I was very much a student of the sport when I was a swimmer. I was always asking my coaches and other coaches questions about training and technique,”Schinnerer said.

After graduating from Yale, Schinnerer had the opportunity to teach and coach at the Peddie School, a private boarding school in New Jersey, where his enthusiasm for coaching grew.

“Being there really ignited my passion for coaching. I really enjoyed helping my swimmers and students achieve their goals and found it to be even more fulfilling than when I was a swimmer working towards my own goals,” Schinnerer said.

Schinnerer also boasts experience with the University of Michigan’s nationally ranked men’s swimming program, with which he served as assistant coach in 2003. He served as a volunteer assistant before transitioning to a full-time assistant coach in 2004. The team had some impressive accomplishments during Schinnerer’s time there, including multiple top-finishes at the NCAA Championships. He had the chance to work with Olympic-caliber swimmers and coaches, including renowned coach Bob Bowman and student assistant coach and decorated gold medalist Michael Phelps. He also handled large responsibilities such as acting as recruiting coordinator and working heavily with Michigan’s summer camp program for introducing the basics of swimming to kids.

Schinnerer’s transition to working with the Bison was a simple one, as he was drawn to the University’s unique atmosphere of allowing students to pursue their academic and athletic goals at the highest levels. In his unique situation of balancing both the men’s and women’s teams, Schinnerer finds it to be a great advantage, as all student-athletes have a common goal.

“Team dynamics are something we definitely work at and do not take for granted,” Schinnerer said.

Schinnerer has certainly seen success in his time with the Orange and Blue, as both the women’s and men’s teams have earned Patriot League titles and top-three finishes under his watch. Under Schinnerer’s direction, the team has also broken numerous school records, and five athletes have a combined total of 13 individual conference titles. His tutelage has produced a handful of championship swimmers, including Emma Levendoski ’16, who became the program’s first Division I National Championship qualifier in 2015.

So far, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have competed in multiple meets and look to continue their season in a meet on Nov. 20 before hosting their annual home invitational Dec. 2-4.

“We are embracing the process and workload necessary to develop the team we want to be,” Schinnerer said.

Despite injuries and illnesses that have set the team back, Schinnerer’s emphasis is on improving little-by-little each week for the big payoff in the meets to come in early 2017.

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