The Terriers sweep the conference title for the first time since 1994
Bill Smyth enthers his ninth season as head coach of the Boston University swimming and diving program, looking to build on the impressive gains made by the team over the last few years, which includes thrilling women's team titles 2009 and 2010 and a sweep of the conference championships in 2012. In 2013, he led both squads to ECAC championships.
Since his arrival at BU, Smyth's athletes have won 69 individual conference crowns - including 15 in 2011 - at the America East Championship. In addition, Smyth owns a .681 winning percentage in dual-meet action with the men and the women's squad has won 82.4 percent of its dual meets over the past five seasons. A total of 15 women's swimming records have been broken during his tenure, as well as 17 on the men's side. He is the four-time defending America East Coach of the Year on the men's side, and in 2008, he swept the awards by claiming it on the women's side.
In 2012, Smyth led the Terriers to a sweep of the confernce championship for the first time since 1994. Freshman Connor Stuewe was named Rookie of the Meet while junior Melinda Matyas captured her third straight Diver of the Meet award.
In the 2009-10 AE preseason coaches' poll, both squads earned respect from around the league, as they were each selected to win the America East in 2010 and the women's squad fulfilled that promise claiming its second straight title for the third time in program history.
In his fourth year at the helm in 2008-09, Smyth brought the swimming and diving program to a new level as the women's squad won its first America East Championship in 14 years, dethroning two-time conference champion UMBC. After gaining the lead during day two of the championship, the women's squad never faltered the rest of the way as senior Tess Waresmith earned Diver of the Meet accolades, while classmate Eve Kinsella garnered the Coaches' Award, which honors a graduating senior for accumulating the most points over four years at the conference championship. On the men's side, seniors Andre Watson and Matt Rickett picked up Diver and Swimmer of the Meets, respectively, for their accomplishments. Watson and Rickett went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Rickett swam in the 100 fly as he was the first BU male swimmer to qualify in 27 years, while Watson competed in both the 1M and 3M events.
In 2007-08, both squads placed second at the America East Championships and completed the dual-meet season with winning records. The men's team went 8-2 and the women were 7-3. Following the impressive year, the coaching staff was honored as the 2008 Men's and Women's Coaching Staffs of the Year. The men's squad broke 13 school and pool records combined, including two relays. In the AE championships, three individuals on the men's team claimed first place and two relays were victorious, while on the women's side three individuals were crowned winners to go along with two relays. Law student Eric Carlson highlighted the weekend's meet, breaking the conference record in the 100 breaststroke in 55.84 seconds.
In 2006-07, the women's squad finished second at the America East championships and finished 9-1 in dual-meet action. The team also established five school records and placed 15 on the academic honor roll. On the men's side, the team finished fourth for the second consecutive year at the conference championships, placed seven on the academic honor roll and finished 3-6 in dual meets, which included an impressive win over Boston College.
In Smyth's first season with the Terriers (2005-06), 95 percent of the men's team swam at least one lifetime best and over 77 percent of the women's team did as well, while the Terriers boasted three individual conference champions. That same year, Smyth led the BU women to a third-place finish at the conference championship, which the Terriers hosted in the new aquatic center. The Terrier men finished fourth and were paced by senior Mike Kelly, who won the Coaches' Award for highest career point total.
All told, 18 women scored at the conference meet (seven more than the previous year) and 19 men scored (five more than 2005). Lidija Breznikar went on to break three school records and one conference mark, while Christina Ruggiero swam the second-fastest 1000 free time in school history.
Smyth, who is credited with the outstanding development of UVA's men's and women's swimming programs as the Cavaliers' assistant coach from 1997-05, was named head coach of BU's programs on May 24, 2005. A five-time All-American swimmer for the Cavaliers, Smyth coached Virginia's distance and IM swimmers and was heavily involved in recruiting.
During the 2004-05 season, the Virginia men's team won its seventh straight Atlantic Coast Conference title and finished 13th overall at the NCAAs. Two of the swimmers Smyth coached earned First Team All-American honors: Pat Mellors, who took fifth in the 400 IM and John Millen, who placed sixth in the 1650 freestyle.
In addition, the women's team was second at the ACC meet after winning the team title the previous two years. At the 2004 NCAAs, Smyth coached three men and three women to top-10 finishes in the 1650 freestyle.
A 1994 Virginia graduate with a degree in psychology, Smyth specialized in the 400 IM. In addition to his five All-American recognitions, he won six ACC individual titles, including four in the 400 IM. Smyth set the school and ACC records in the 400 IM in 1994 with a time of 3:47.98, which stood until the 2002 ACC Championships. Smyth was selected to the ACC 50th Anniversary Men's Swimming and Diving Team in August of 2002. He was a finalist at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400 IM, placing fifth. Smyth was also a finalist at USA National meets several times. Smyth has international coaching experience, as he served as an assistant coach for the Macedonian Olympic team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
A native of Norristown, Pa., Smyth has served as an assistant coach for some of the top club teams in the nation since his graduation from UVA. He spent time with the Jersey Wahoos and the Phoenix Swim Club, each of which sent swimmers to the 1996 Summer Olympics.