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Jimmies swimming and diving team go full steam ahead in off-season

New head coach Craig Mallery is recruiting future classes and a new graduate assistant.

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Jimmies swimmer Savannah Frahm swims during the team's inaugural meet on Oct. 15, 2021.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown swimming and diving program has only been around for one season but already has a lot of turnover after the departure of head coach Alex Raasch midway through the inaugural season and recent departure of graduate assistant Harry Baden.

Despite the departure of Baden, the program is moving quickly ahead behind new head coach Craig Mallery, who was hired in late March.

Mallery did not expect to replace Baden but said he is looking forward to bringing in his own graduate assistant.

“Harry did a great job of keeping the program running after the original coach left,” Mallery said. “Now, it’s an opportunity to bring in somebody that aligns very closely with me and will be a great partnership in moving the program forward.”

Mallery said the process of replacing Baden has already begun with the athletic department putting listings out on multiple job boards.

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The only upperclassmen on the roster is as used to change as Mallery, as rising senior Courtnay Kiecker went from Jamestown High School to the University of Mary and transferred to the Jimmies when the program was introduced. Kiecker said she will not be phased by the turnover in coaches.

“I am no stranger to changes in coaching staff,” Kiecker said. “I’ve actually had a completely different coaching staff every year of college swimming. The seemingly constant changes really show the perseverance of the girls on our team and our dedication to the sport.”

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While the recruiting for the 2022-23 season was at the tail end when Mallery took the job, he has set about reaching out to places all over the globe to set up connections for potential future recruits. Mallery admitted that coming into the recruiting cycle at the end was not great, but he is excited to move forward and recruit swimmers and divers for the 2023-24 season.

“I needed to reach out to the club programs in South Dakota, Minneapolis and Nebraska and let those prospects know that there is a place with a regional opportunity for them to continue as far as their collegiate experience,” Mallery said. “I’m reaching much further as well. I’ve established some very strong international connections in Spain and Europe and Canada and it’s just furthering those relationships and bringing in eventually a very regionally and nationally and internationally diverse team.”

One of the first things that Mallery has done as the head coach is to create a brochure that he sent around the country to swim clubs and high schools and junior colleges. The brochure touts the program and has a section for potential recruits to fill out with basic information about them.

“It really shows someone has a level of interest and curiosity … you have to introduce them to the university and make sure there is a strong major fit and start building in the relationship and developing their interest more and ultimately coming down to a point where they are choosing Jamestown as a great fit for them,” Mallory said.

This is not Mallery’s first team coaching a program in its infancy stages as he started the first-ever program at Seattle University and so he has a basis to go off of in what a program's second ever season is like.

“There are a lot of similarities, the time before eventually going Division One, Seattle was an NAIA program, so I know the domain very well,” Mallery said. “There are some parallels very well. Obviously, both are small private schools so there are similarities there. One is rural, one is very urban. So there are some differences there. It’s just identifying recruits that are looking for fit for where you’re at.”

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Kiecker said Mallery’s experience at Seattle in its first few years of experience makes her excited heading into the season.

“I am looking forward to working with coach Craig this season,” Kiecker said. “With how rocky last season was with coaching changes it will be very refreshing to have a coach with experience in working with brand new teams.”

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am the Sports Lead at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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