Chris O’Linger Added to Grand Canyon University Coaching Staff

Photo Courtesy: Deb Schaffer

Grand Canyon is excited to introduce Chris O’Linger as the newest addition to the swimming and diving coaching staff as their new associate head coach.

O’Linger comes to the Valley after a six-year stint with the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio as its assistant head coach (2017-18), assistant coach (2013-17) and graduate assistant (2012-13).

“I’m very excited to join the staff at Grand Canyon,” O’Linger said. “The school’s support of athletics is immense, and I have already bought into the team’s mission and culture. This is an opportunity to work with some of the best coaches and swimmers in the country.”

O’Linger played a pivotal role in the growth of the Incarnate Word swimming and diving program as it transitioned from Division II to Division I in the fall of 2013. In their final year in Division II, the Cardinals place third for men and fourth for women at the Division II NCAA Championships.

“I absorbed a lot in my time at Incarnate Word with our head coach Phillip Davis,” O’Linger said. “But (GCU swimming and diving head coach) Steve Schaffer will undoubtedly serve an equal amount of influence on me as a coach. His mentorship and guidance was a resonating benefit in deciding to join the coaching staff at Grand Canyon.”

O’Linger helped lead the development training and performance program for middle-distance, endurance and distance training groups at Incarnate Word. O’Linger developed his student-athletes in the pool and the classroom. He served as an academic contact, study hall monitor, life skills liaison and adjunct professor of kinesiology. He also helped pioneer a post-graduate and professional program to actualize the dreams of the most successful athletes in gaining exposure for international recruiting. Schaffer is very excited to bring in O’Linger and his wide range of skills and years of experience.

“Chris is a great addition to our staff,” Schaffer said. “He will help us continue to move our program forward with what he has to offer our to both our student-athletes and in our recruiting efforts.”

O’Linger, a Tampa, Fla., native, received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Tampa in 2011 and swam for the Spartans from 2007 to 2011. His success as a coach correlates to his accomplishments as a college swimmer, as he was a 22-time Division II All-American across nine different events, while breaking six conference records and seven school records. O’Linger was a four-time U.S. Open Finalist and an Amateur Athletic Union Joel Ferrell Outstanding Performance Memorial Award recipient. He was also elected team captain for the 2010-11 season.

“I have had the opportunity to watch Chris succeed as a swimmer at Tampa and grow as a coach throughout his time at Incarnate Word,” Schaffer said. “He has always impressed me with his drive to succeed and his uniquely curious and open-minded attitude to help swimmers get better and faster. We can’t wait to see the impact he makes on our student-athletes and the university.”

“From an athletic perspective, what they have accomplished during their first year in Division I, after only a four-year transfer period is indescribable,” O’Linger said. “The success in the pool and in the recent national academic rankings reaffirm my confidence in our ability to achieve continued success as a program, and recruit and produce remarkable men and women to represent GCU post-graduation.”

O’Linger received his Master of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Kinesiology and Sports Management from Incarnate Word in 2014. He and his wife, Caroline, who was also a swimmer at Tampa, will move to the Grand Canyon state this summer with their children, Cooper (3) and Vivienne (1).

The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Grand Canyon University Athletics. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact