Utah Hires Jonas Persson as Head Swimming and Diving Coach

Photo Courtesy: Utah Athletics

Utah Hires Jonas Persson as Head Swimming and Diving Coach

Utah on Tuesday announced the hiring of Jonas Persson as the school’s next head swimming and diving coach.

Persson had served as the program’s associate head coach for the last three seasons. It’s his second stint with the Utes, where he was the head sprint coach from 2011-16. Part of that tenure was under head coach Joe Dykstra, who resigned in March. Persson served as an interim coach during part of the postseason for the Utes with Dykstra away due to health reasons, which he cited in his resignation.

“I am very excited and honored to have been given this opportunity to lead the University of Utah Swimming & Diving program,” Persson said in a university statement. “It’s been a pleasure to work with Utah student-athletes since we joined the Pac-12 in 2011, and to see the success we have had since then. I believe that this team and athletics department are ready to take the Swim & Dive program to new heights of success. I can’t thank the search committee enough, especially Charmelle (Green) and Gavin (Gough), and most of all I want to thank Mark (Harlan) for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank all the student-athletes, staff, and alumni who expressed faith in me and pushed me to pursue this opportunity. In addition, my wife and I have called Salt Lake City home for many years, and we really know what this community, city, and University have to offer. I know that our teams can be at the top of the Pac-12 and national rankings every year, and I’m excited to start. GO UTES!”

Persson helped the Utes break four school records at NCAAs this year. His pupils include Cooper DeRyk, a second-team All-American in 2020-21, and Nick Soedel, Utah’s first Pac-12 medalist (bronze) in 2013.

Persson spent three seasons as the head coach of the University of Toledo from 2016-19.

The native of Malmo, Sweden, was a distinguished college and international swimmer. He was a 13-time All-American in college, first at the University of Arizona and then at University of Tennessee. He was a team captain at the latter, where he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant. He obtained his bachelor’s degree and a pair of master’s degrees in Knoxville.

Persson represented Sweden in the 2008 Olympics, helping the team finish fifth in the 400 free relay. He was 13th in the 100 free in Beijing. A 16-time national champion and national record-holder, Persson won a gold medal in the 400 free relay at the 2008 European Championships and a bronze in the event in 2010.

“We had an incredible level of talent in our candidate pool and attracted the interest of many fantastic coaches for this search,” Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said. “Through this process it was clear that Jonas has a defined strategy to continue to build upon the success of our swimming and diving program, and a focus on recruiting and developing even greater competitive excellence. His experience not only as an elite collegiate and Olympic swimmer, but also his leadership qualities and ability to bring out the best in our student-athletes, made him the clear choice for this role. I’d like to thank our committee, chaired by sport supervisor Gavin Gough, and consisting of Deputy Athletics Director Charmelle Green and Faculty Athletics Representative Karen Paisley, for their tremendous work on this search.”

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