Loyola University New Orleans Hires T.J. Natal as Head Coach

Photo Courtesy: Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University New Orleans has announced T.J. Natal as their new head men’s and women’s swimming coach. Loyola University competes in the Southern States Athletic Conference in the NAIA.

Natal is no stranger to Louisiana. He swam for Louisiana State from 2001-2003, volunteered at the University of New Orleans, and worked with Tulane University from 2010-2013. He comes to Loyola after serving as the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Coach at UConn.

Press Release:

Loyola names T.J. Natal as head men’s and women’s swimming coach (New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans Director of Athletics and Wellness Brett Simpson announced today the hiring of T.J. Natal as the head men’s and women’s swimming coach. Natal joins the Wolf Pack after previously serving as the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Coach at the University of Connecticut.  He also worked with the swimming program at Tulane from 2010-2013.

“We are excited to have T.J. return to New Orleans to lead our men’s and women’s swimming program,” said Simpson. “A proven recruiter, he brings a wealth of experience in attracting student athletes who will excel in the classroom and in the pool.  We look forward to T.J. building a swimming program that will make the Loyola community proud.”

During his time in Storrs, Conn., Natal served as the head men’s and women’s recruiting coordinator and also focused his efforts as the head sprint and middle distance coach, while developing a new dry land training regimen for the team. During the 2014 season, 18 swimmers earned American Athletic All-Conference honors and both the men’s and women’s teams recorded winning records. In his two seasons with the Huskies, Natal coached 27 All-Conference selections.

Natal began his tenure at Tulane in August of 2010 as a volunteer assistant and later moved to full time assistant/recruiting coordinator in May of 2011. He served as interim head swim and dive coach from August 2012 to July 2013.  In addition to guiding and coordinating the daily aspects of a NCAA Division I swimming program, he was responsible for the recruitment of the entire 2013-14 class.

Natal also served as volunteer assistant coach at the University of New Orleans (UNO) during the 2009 season, where he helped eight swimmers earn NCAA B cuts, coached two conference champions and had several top eight finishers at the Sun Belt Conference Championship Meet.

“I am excited about this incredible opportunity with Loyola University,” said Natal. “I will strive to build a program that not only emphasizes academic excellence, but also seeks the highest level of athletic success. There is something deeply significant about returning to my hometown, and it is truly an honor to become part of the Loyola Community.”

Prior to his time at UNO, Natal spent roughly five years as the the program director and head swim coach at Elmwood Fitness Center in Harahan, La. There, he coached five high school All-Americans and helped four swimmers qualify for Junior Nationals. He also served as the varsity head coach at Archbishop Chapelle High School in 2007.

A graduate of Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, La., Natal was a four-time All-District selection and a three-time All-State selection. He won state titles in the 100m freestyle as a junior and both the 50m and 100m freestyle as a senior. Natal also swam for the Elmwood Sharks from 1992-99 where he posted six Junior National cuts and one Senior National cut.

Natal swam at Louisiana State University (LSU) from 2001-2003. He later earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in 2006.

Loyola announced the addition of men’s and women’s swimming earlier this year.  The teams will begin competition in 2016-17.  Along with the addition of competitive cheer and dance, Loyola will have 17 intercollegiate sports in the fall of 2016.

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Author: Evan Dulaney

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Swimming World College Intern and Coach for the Northern Kentucky Clippers

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