Sean Schimmel became the seventh head coach of the Arkansas swimming and diving program in July of 2012 bringing with him a decorated past of coaching success – both in the pool and in the classroom.
Schimmel came to the Razorbacks from the University of Maryland where he led the men’s and women’s swimming and diving program for four seasons. It wasn’t long into his tenure with Maryland that it was evident the program was on the upswing as Terps swimmers tallied 25 school records – 14 on the men’s and 11 on the women’s side — in Schimmel’s first year.
More recently, in 2009-10 and 2010-11, he guided the Terps to top 25 finishes (22nd) in the NCAA Championships on the women’s side. In four seasons with the women’s team, Schimmel went 37-8 in dual meet action, and Maryland swimmers also totaled 19 All-America nods.
The Terps were no stranger to academic success under Schimmel’s tutelage, as Maryland was named a College Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team for four consecutive seasons and last season seven Terps received Academic All-ACC honors, with 27 total honors in his four seasons.
Prior to his time at Maryland, he was the associate head coach at LSU from 2007-2009 and served as the top assistant at Harvard from 1999-2006. During his time at LSU and Harvard, Schimmel coached a total of 53 All-Americans - first team and honorable mention - over the span of 10 years.
At LSU, the men’s and women’s teams earned dual-meet rankings among the top-20 in the nation in 2008. The teams combined to break 18 school records during his time in Baton Rouge.
At Harvard he helped capture four Ivy League conference championships with the Crimson. He also helped Harvard to a 61-4 dual-meet record. Harvard was ranked 17th as a team in the 2002 NCAA Championships. During his time at Harvard, Schimmel had a number of student-athletes qualify for the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials.
He joined the Harvard staff after becoming the head coach at La Canada Flintridge YMCA in California, where he coached several men and women to the YMCA National Championships. While working with the YMCA, he managed a staff of three coaches and a 115-member swim team.
Schimmel had an impressive collegiate swimming career as a power in the butterfly and freestyle events for the University of Southern California from 1987-91. As a swimmer, Schimmel competed in the 1988 Olympic trials in the 100 and 200-meter butterfly. In 1992, he graduated from Southern California with a bachelor’s in communications.
A prep All-American at Ridgewood (N.J.) High School, Schimmel previously held the state-record mark in the 200-yard fly (1:47.39). After competing for the New Jersey Wave under Head Coach Frank McElroy, he also served as the team’s assistant coach from 1991-92.
Schimmel is married to the former Tricia Starr, and the couple has two daughters, Peyton Lilly and Dillan Rose.