Story courtesy of the University of Toledo Media Relations Department
TOLEDO, OH - University of Toledo Athletic Director Mike O'Brien Tuesday announced the hiring of Liz Hinkleman as the new head coach of the Rockets' women's swimming and diving program. Hinkleman has served as the assistant coach at Toledo for the past two seasons and was a four-year Rocket swimmer from 2004-08.
"We are very pleased to name Liz Hinkleman as the head women's swimming and diving coach at the University of Toledo," said O'Brien. "Liz has been a part of this program both as a four-year student-athlete and as an assistant coach for the past two seasons. Her familiarity with the program and her integral role in leading Toledo to its first MAC Championship last season are just some of the reasons we feel she will be an excellent leader for these young women. Liz has a superb rapport with the student-athletes. The fact that she was an exceptional swimmer at Toledo as a student-athlete is an added bonus. Above all, Liz is an outstanding teacher and leader, which she has demonstrated over the past two seasons. I think Liz is the perfect choice to lead our women's swimming and diving program."
As an assistant with Toledo, Hinkleman helped former coach Lars Jorgensen lead the Rockets to their first Mid-American Conference title in program history in 2010. Under her guidance, several UT swimmers have qualified for the USA National Championships and World Championship Trials, and Toledo also had its first qualifier for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, Kylie Gamelier. Last season alone, 10 Rockets captured All-MAC honors and seven were named Academic All-MAC, and returning senior Jacy Dyer was named MAC Co-Swimmer of the Year.
"I have been a part of the swimming and diving program for the past six years, and I am excited for the future of this program," said Hinkleman. "I am looking forward to leading the team to continued success and raising the program to an even higher level. I would like to thank Mike O'Brien, Senior Associate Athletics Director Kelly Andrews and Deputy Athletic Director Mike Karabin for giving me this opportunity."
Hinkleman swam for UT from 2004-08, and was a three-time MAC champion and a member of the 2008 squad that finished second in the MAC, the best showing in school history prior to last season. As a member of the 200 freestyle relay team, she helped set school and conference records while winning the event at the MAC Championships three times. Hinkleman also twice captained the Rockets, earning the team's "Captain's Award" in 2007.
"I know the University and Athletic Department well and I feel the transition from assistant to head coach will be relatively smooth," Hinkleman said. "The girls on the team have responded well to all the changes made over the last month."
Prior to returning to coach at her alma mater, Hinkleman served as the assistant swim coach at Lewis University in Chicago in 2008. She also served as the coach for a club team at Lewis, the Academy Bullets. She returned to Toledo in January of 2009 as the assistant coach.
Hinkleman takes over the program from Jorgensen, who recently resigned to take an assistant coaching position with his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Jorgensen was the head coach for six seasons and posted a career meet record of 45-19-1 (.700). Jorgensen helped to revive the program, leading the team to top-three finishes in each of the last three seasons, including the program's first MAC title in 2010. Hinkleman served as Jorgensen's assistant coach the past two seasons, during which the Rockets finished third and first, respectively, at the MAC Championships.
"We have an impressive team this year including 11 freshmen and eight returning All-MAC selections," said Hinkleman. "We have an exciting dual-meet schedule, including some new competitions and three Big Ten teams. We are looking to be in contention for another MAC title and get a few girls to qualify for the NCAA championships."
Hinkleman is a native of Munster, IN and earned her bachelor's degree from Toledo in pharmacy administration.