Damion Dennis enters his sixth season as the assistant coach for the Mountaineer swimming and diving program. Dennis serves as the sprint specialist and assists coach Vic Riggs with day-to-day operations and recruiting.
Dennis helped to send eight swimmers to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., competing in 15 different events. Tim Squires swam in the 50 free and 100 free, while Brad Eichenseer swam the 50 free and Taylor Camp in the 100 free.
The 2011-12 was WVU’s most productive under the current coaching staff as the women placed 26th at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Rachael Burnett, Kata Fodor, Mandie Nugent and Danielle Smith earned All-America Honorable Mention honors as part of the 16th-place 800 free relay team. Burnett earned the honor twice more, finishing 14th in the 500 free and 11th in the 1650 free, while Nugent finished ninth in the 200 fly.
At the 2012 Big East Championships the women took third place and the men finished in fourth place as 15 members of the squad earned All-Big East honors. Burnett and Nugent led the women with seven top three finishes, while Taylor Camp had three for the men. Burnett was named the Big East Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer.
Dennis has brought a wealth of knowledge from his experience working with top-10 Division I and Division II teams, Olympic Trials qualifiers, Senior/Junior National qualifiers and NCAA and high school state champions. At West Virginia he has brought energy and charisma while working closely with the swimmers. Dennis also is responsible for the 2008-09 recruiting classes that found the men ranked at 17th and the women at 24th.
As a coach at the collegiate level, Dennis has developed more than 90 percent of lifetime swims for the teams themselves and has devised seasonal plans that have developed more than 200 personal records, 77 team records and 41 All-Americans.
Before coming to West Virginia, Dennis had a two-year stint at California-San Diego, where he served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Prior to his stay at UC-San Diego, Dennis spent three years at Princeton, where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. It was there that Dennis revitalized the Princeton strength and conditioning program while maintaining undefeated seasons from 2002-04, and increasing the recruiting class size.
From 2000-02, Dennis worked as a graduate assistant at Michigan while working towards his master’s. He worked under world-renowned collegiate and national level coaches Jim Richardson and Jon Urbancheck.
Dennis put together a stellar career at Western Illinois where he was part of a six-time conference champion program. He swam the 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly, 1000 free, 400 IM and also dove two seasons.
A native of Peoria, Ill., Dennis has stayed in touch with his roots as he runs the Peoria Swim Lab each summer. The week-long camp is aimed at helping middle school to high school athletes who are looking to further their swimming abilities.
Dennis graduated from Western Illinois in 2000 with a degree in exercise science and kinesiology. He later went on to receive his master’s from Michigan in 2002 in exercise science and kinesiology.
Dennis earned his Level 4 coaching certificate from the American Swimming Coaches Association in 2005.
Dennis and his wife, Hillary, reside in Morgantown.