Wyoming swimming has been a part of Tom Johnson's life for a little more than two decades. Johnson swam at the University of Wyoming for four years, he spent one season as an assistant coach, and for the last 17 years has been head coach.
In the past 17 seasons at the helm of the Wyoming swimming and diving program, Johnson has led the Cowboys and Cowgirls to their highest conference finishes ever and has been named conference coach of the year four times. At UW, he has seen 30 individual Mountain West Champions, four Western Athletic Conference Champions, four individual Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Champions, three Honorable Mention All-Americans and 11 student-athletes earn Academic All-America honors. He also coached the Cowgirls first back-to-back Honorable Mention All-American in Kelsey Conci. Possibly his greatest achievement came in 2004 when he helped Scott Usher reach the 2004 Olympic Games.
The 2015-16 season was once again a successful campaign for Johnson and UW. He coached the Cowboys to runner-up honors at the WAC Championships, and a fourth-place finish for the Cowgirls at the MW Championships. Jack Herron became to second-straight Poke to earn Freshman of the Year honors, while three Cowgirls qualified for the NCAA Championships. Kari Campbell became the first Cowgirl diver to earn All-America accolades, as she was named Honorable Mention All-America on the platform event. Additionally, 11 Cowboys were named to the All-WAC Academic team.
In 2014-15, Johnson led the Cowboy's to a third place finish at the WAC Championship, as well as a fourth place finish at the MW Championship for the Cowgirls. It became the ninth consecutive season the Cowgirls finished in the top four of the conference. Johnson coached Adam Kalms to the NCAA Championship as he became the third Cowboy to make three trips to the championships. He also mentored Austin Rettinghouse and Kari Campbell, as they each qualified for the finals of the platform dive in the NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships.
The 2013-14 season saw Wyoming become regulars on the EndlessPools/CollegeSwimming.com polls. The Cowboys finished the season ranked seventh in the EndlessPools/CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major rankings, as the Cowgirls came in ranking eighth in the season ending rankings.
Johnson led Adam Kalms and Ryan Nelson to the NCAA Championship during the 2013-14 season. It marked the first time the Cowboys qualified two athletes for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1949 (James Nolan and Marcus Hodges). Kalms became the third Cowboy swimmer to earn back-to-back All-America honors after finishing 14th in the 200 freestyle. Johnson also mentored Cowgirl senior Morgan Hartigan, as she qualified in three events at the NCAA Women's Championship. She also became the first Cowgirl swimmer to compete in a an individual medley event at the championship.
In 2012-13, Johnson led the Cowboys to a second place finish at the MPSF Championships, as Wyoming was only nine and a half points behind conference champion UNLV. He also led the women's team to a third place finish at the MW Championships, as the Cowgirls finished in the top-four for the seventh consecutive season. Johnson finished the season with impressive records recording an 8-1 overall record on the men's side and a 6-1 overall record on the women's side. Johnson mentored Honorable Mention All-American Adam Kalms, who was the first Wyoming swimmer to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors since Scott Usher in 2004. Kalms helped Wyoming to one team point to conclude the event in 32nd place.
During the 2011-12 season, Johnson led his teams in two different conferences the MW and MPSF. The Cowboys finished the 2011-12 season with a 4-3 overall dual record. In their first season in the MPSF, the Cowboys finished the championship in third place with four individual championships and one relay championship. In his team's first year of competition in the MPSF, Johnson was voted by his peers as the Coach of the Year in the conference. He also coached 10 individuals to All-MPSF honorees and five relay teams. Also in 2012, senior swimmer Brandon Fischer became the first Cowboys swimmer to earn a place at the NCAA Championships since Usher in 2005. On the women's side, he led the Cowgirls to a 6-3 overall dual record and 3-1 in the MW. The Cowgirls finished the MW Championships in fourth place with two individual champions and one relay championship. Following the championships, eight individual Cowgirls and three relay squads earned All-MW honors. Cowgirl Conci earned her second-consecutive spot at the NCAA Championships. She became the first-ever Cowgirl to earn back-to-back Honorable Mention All-America honors after placing ninth in the 100 backstroke.
In 2010-11, Johnson led the Cowboys and Cowgirls to third-place finishes at the Mountain West Championships, while also helping to coach two individuals to NCAA Championship berths. The 2010-11 Cowgirls finished the season in third place at the conference championships after posting an 11-4 dual record with a 5-3 record in the MW. At the MW Championships the Cowgirls claimed three individual championships and one relay title. Overall nine Cowgirls and three relay teams earned All-MW awards. Lesley Young won two MW Championships in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, while Kelsey Conci picked up the other win for UW in the 100 backstroke. The Cowgirl 200 medley relay team also won a MW Championship setting a new championship record time in the process. Conci also qualified for the NCAA Championships swimming an NCAA `A' cut time in the 100 back portion of the 400 medley relay. At the NCAA Championships, Conci, swam her way into the `B' final and placed second in her final heat giving her 10th place overall. Her 10th-place finish earned her Honorable Mention All-America honors. She was the first Cowgirl since Norma Hughes in 1992 to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors. The Cowboys also placed third at the 2011 MW Championships, claiming two individual championships. The Cowboys posted a 6-5 overall dual record and a 2-3 MW record during the regular season. The Cowboys had an excellent showing at the 2011 MW Championships with eight student-athletes earning All-MW honors. At the conference championships diver Mark Murdock won two individual championships on the 3-meter springboard and platform. Following that performance Murdock went on to place in the top eight on the platform at the NCAA Zone `E' championships to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships. Murdock placed 12th on the platform earning Honorable Mention All-America honors.
The 2009-10 season was one of Johnson's best years of coaching as he coached the Cowgirls to runner-up at the 2010 MWC Championships and their best dual record ever at 14-1 and 7-1 in the conference. The Cowgirls had 15 individual All-MWC performers, as well as two individual MWC champions. Johnson also saw two of his Cowgirls compete at the 2010 NCAA Championships. The Cowboys also competed well during the 2009-10 season for Johnson. The `Pokes posed a 7-3 overall dual record and a 3-2 record in the MWC. The Cowboys had nine individual First Team All-MWC performers. Also Cowboy Mark Murdock won the platform diving event at the MWC Championships with a new school and MWC record.
The 2008-09 season started with great momentum from the previous season. At the 2009 MWC Championships the Cowboys matched their highest finish ever in third, while the Cowgirls also placed third for their highest finish ever. Wyoming won three individual championships, broke 16 school records, had 50 performances that rank in the top-five in school history, and had 21 athletes earn all-conference. UW had great success at the conference meet, but they also posted great times and strong records in the regular season. The Cowboys finished the regular season with an overall record of 12-1, while the Cowgirls were 12-4. The Pokes' season did not go unnoticed as they received votes in the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll, and finished the season ranked 34th in the nation. In dual meets, the Cowgirls have posted a record of 28-5 over the past three seasons, and have a home pool record of 13-2. The men have also enjoyed success the past three seasons and are 18-10 overall during the same three seasons.
One of Johnson's proudest coaching moments came during the summer of 2004. Following his junior season, Wyoming's Scott Usher reached the apex of the swimming world by earning a spot on the coveted United States Olympic Team. Johnson was right by Usher's side as he wore the bucking horse swim cap and raced to a second-place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke at the US Olympic Team Trials on national television.
In support of Johnson and Usher, the Cowboy Joe Club, along with a local businesses, raised enough money to send Johnson to the Olympic Games where he watched Usher reach the finals of the 200-meter breaststroke and swim to a seventh-place finish in the world. In all, Johnson helped guide Usher to four First Team All-America honors, five overall All-America honors and six MWC Championships during his career at UW.
Johnson's coaching philosophy emphasizes maximizing the talent and the potential of our student athletes both academically and athletically.
"We want to maximize their potential athletically to swim at the highest levels of our sport, academically achieving goals allowing them to graduate."
The success Wyoming has had in the pool has been matched in the classroom. In fact, over the past five years, 13 UW swimmers and divers have earned Academic All-District VII honors from Capital One and CoSIDA. Recently, student-athletes Veronica Popovici and Trevor LeValley were named to the Capital One Academic All-District Seven At-Large teams, announced Thursday by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Popovici and LeValley were among 22 student-athletes (11 women and 11 men) selected to the District 7 At-Large teams.
Johnson has also coached 11 individual Academic All-Americans in his time at Wyoming. Most recently Amanda Fay earned Scholar All-American First Team honors, while Jayce Calhoon, Ethan Griffel, Ryan Nelson, Jordan Turner and Morgan Hartigan earned Honorable Mention Scholar All-America honors.
The achievements his teams have made in the pool and classroom over the past 16 seasons are helping Johnson to continue to build the Wyoming swimming and diving program.
"Our student-athletes understand where this program is headed and the success it can accomplish, and they want to be a part of that," said Johnson. "The goal for us is to continue to strive for consistent and constant improvement in all phases of their life, athletically, academically and socially."
"We want to make them be proud to be a Wyoming Cowboy or Cowgirl, and that they will always be connected to our program and understand the impact they have made over the four years they have been here."
A native of Camillus, N.Y., Johnson was a four-year Wyoming letterwinner as he swam for the Cowboys from 1982-85. Prior to becoming the head swimming and diving coach at Wyoming in 1998, Johnson was the head coach and program director for the Birmingham Swim League in Birmingham, Ala., from the novice level to Olympic trial qualifiers. He guided the Birmingham Swim League from 1994 to 1997, and had 16 swimmers go on to compete at the NCAA Division I level across the United States.
After lettering at UW, and ending his swimming career as the school record holder in the 200 breaststroke, Johnson became an assistant coach at Wyoming during the 1985-86 season. In 1987-88, he became the head coach at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The following year, he returned to his native state of New York as the head coach for the Liverpool Jets Swim Club in Syracuse. From 1989-94, he was the head coach of the Fort Collins Area Swim Team.
Johnson earned a number of awards during his coaching career before to coming to Wyoming. He was named Colorado Swimming Coach of the Year in 1993, was selected as a coach for the United States Swimming's Select Camps at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 1993, `94, `96 and `97, and was named the Southeastern Swimming Coach of the year in 1996.
He has achieved a Level 5 certification by the American Swimming Coaches Association, the highest level of certification, and is also a USS and NCAA Division I Level 5 certified coach. Johnson is also a USA Swimming National Team Coach.
Johnson and his wife, Cheryl, a native of Cheyenne, have two children, Tommy and Alexandra.
Camp director Alex Fedorov (A.K.A. “Coach Alex”) holds a degree in biomedical sciences from Auburn University with post-graduate training in dentistry, medicine and nutrition. While in undergrad, Coach Alex excelled as a swimmer competing at internationally and was recognized as Auburn University’s Southeastern Conference representative/nomination as Student-Athlete of the Year and SEC Swimmer of the Year, respectively. Coach Alex has numerous awards both in swimming and academia. For the past 5 years, Coach Alex has worked as cams video production manager, parent contact liaison, camp logistics manager, nutrition and medical consultant.
Coach Alex is a certified Texas science teacher in addition to his medical background. He has managed children for 15 years and has held a Texas certification in teaching in since 2005, is nationally recognized with a track record of remarkable excellence. Coach Alex publishes a nationally recognized website which host videos for educating young minds in science.
Coach Alex also has extensive medical knowledge with a background in medicine and nutrition. For the Butler camp, Coach Alex will continue to serve as the camp’s nutritional expert, parent and medical liaison for the camp. Coach Alex also oversees all education and camp logistics.
Coach Alex is the camp director, though he does not actively participate as a coach at the camp (though you may see Coach Alex give pointers in backstroke as he was one of the best backstrokes in the world.) Coach Alex excelled both in the classroom and in swimming marking numerous accomplishments as a swimmer. Coached by 2016 U.S. Olympic Head Coach David Marsh both in high school and in college at Auburn, Coach Alex attained national recognition as a 15-time division I NCAA All-American while being named to numerous honors. Coach Alex held several state records and a national relay record that stood for over 20 years.
Denniston was a member of the University of Auburn swim program from 1997-2002. A two-time team captain at Auburn, he was a three-time individual NCAA champion, including the 1999 national title in the 200-meter breaststroke. Denniston was a 15-time All-American and lead the Tigers to the 1999 NCAA Team Championship.
Denniston was an Olympic Trials finalist at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials in both the 100 and 200-meters Breaststroke. In 2003, he competed on the United States World Championship Team in the 200-meter breaststroke. In 2005, Denniston was injured in a sledding accident which paralyzed him; he then continued on to qualify for the 2008 Paralympic games. Subsequently, Mr. Denniston became the Head Coach of the U.S. Paralympics Swim Team in 2010.
Denniston owns a motivational speaking company called Mind Over Body. It was created to help people reach their goals despite barriers in life. He has also spent time as an Assistant Editor for Swimming World Magazine. He was awarded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration award in 2009 and James R. Flowers Coach of the Year award in 2012 while coach of the U.S. Paralympic team.
Denniston is a 2002 graduate of Auburn where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in English.
Jack Port is entering his third year as the Head Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving Coach at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Coach Port has a philosophy focused on navigating the competitive process with a values based approach and strong work ethic.
Over the past two seasons he has guided Holy Redeemer to 30 combined dual meet victories and saw both teams improve significantly to place amongst the top teams in the state at the 2017 PIAA State Championships. He has mentored a total of eight Pennsylvania High School Coaches Association All-State swimmers, including the first boys state medalist in school history and a three-time boys district champion and district record holder. Coach Port also mentored two girls’ relay teams to state medals and one individual to a top four state finish in 2017. The Holy Redeemer record board saw 6 new girls’ records and 5 new boys’ records in 2017. Stressing the importance of academics, Coach Port also mentored two NISCA Academic All-Americans in 2017.
Prior to his current position at Holy Redeemer, Port served as a Volunteer Assistant Coach at Misericordia University where he assisted men’s and women’s teams that both finished 2nd overall at the 2015 Middle Atlantic Conference Championships with 7 conference champions and 2 NCAA B’ cut performances. A 2014 graduate of Lycoming College where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History, Port served as a Men’s Swim Team Captain and was the recipient of the team’s highest honor, the Mort Rauff Award.
A certified teacher in Pennsylvania, Coach Port also teaches social studies at Holy Redeemer and is working towards a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology at Misericordia University. He continues coaching in the summer months as the Head Swim Coach for the Wilkes-Barre YMCA Dolphins Summer Swim Team, working on stroke development with swimmers of all age groups.
THIS CAMP IS INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED. IT IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH BUTLER UNIVERSITY.
This camp is open to any and all entrants. For your safety and benefit, we recommend you have competitive swimming experience (e.g. U.S.S. age group, national qualifiers, high school swimmers, or summer league swimmers) and can swim at least 50 yards in all four competitive strokes: fly, back, breast and freestyle.
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