Tom Jager carries the philosophy that honesty, plus respect, plus punctuality equals integrity. Jager brought this mindset into his fourth season at the helm of Washington State University swimming.
WSU Head Coach Tom Jager led the 2014-15 Washington State swim team to a winning dual-meet record for the first time in his coaching career. The Cougars finished 6-3 in dual meets, including six-straight dual-meet victories. The streak marks the first time since the 2008-09 season that WSU has won six-straight dual meets. In the process, Washington State defeated Arizona State and Utah for the first time in program history. Adding a win over Oregon State, the Cougars earned victories over three different conference opponents for the first time in school history.
In total, the 2014-15 Cougars set 64 lifetime bests and had 30 WSU all-time top-10 performances. Jager led the Cougars to four record-breaking performances in the 2014-15 season. At the Hawkeye Invitational, Dec. 5-7, junior Presley Wetterstrom clocked a lifetime best of 2:12.96 in the 200 breast and set a school record. WSU’s 200 free relay team of Alison Mand, Hannah Bruggman, Nicole Proulx, and Haley Rose Love broke the school record twice over the course of the season. At the Hawkeye Invitational the team finished in 1:31.56 before besting the record once more at the Pac-12 Championships, Feb. 25-28, with a time of 1:31.09. In addition, senior Nicole Proulx closed her WSU career with a school record in the 100 free, clocking a time of 49.75.
Jager encourages his student-athletes to be successful both in and out of the pool, which is exemplified in the team’s performance in the classroom. The Washington State swim team earned Team Scholar All-America honors for the second-consecutive season. The Cougars boasted a 3.14 GPA in the fall semester, bringing the program’s average cumulative GPA to 3.42, the second-highest cumulative GPA of WSU’s measured sports. In addition, 10 Cougar swimmers were named to the Pac-12 All-Academic teams, including four student-athletes on the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team. In Jager’s four years, the Cougars have boasted 38 Pac-12 All-Academic honors, including 12 Pac-12 Conference All-Academic First Team members.
Last season, Jager led the Cougars to an eighth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships, their best finish since a seventh-place finish in 2011. The Cougars’ 200 medley relay team of Emma Johansson, Frederikke Hall, Alison Mand, and Nicole Proulx broke the school record at the Championships, in a time of 1:39.45. The finish was one of two record-setting finishes by WSU on the season, as the relay team of Emma Johansson, Alison Mand, Haley Rose Love, and Anne Kenney finished the 200 free relay at the Hawkeye Invitational in 1:31.66 seconds. In addition, five individual swimmers received the CSCAA Honorable Mention Scholar All-America Award in 2013-14.
During Jager’s second campaign with the Cougars, WSU finished 6-6 in dual meets. The Cougars placed ninth at the Pac-12 Championships. Loree Olson highlighted the season by becoming the Cougar all-time record holder in the 400 IM. Olson also placed second all-time on the Washington State records list in the 200 back. Emma Johansson placed in the top three of the Cougar all-time lists in the 50 free, 100 back, and 100 butterfly. Shelbi Luchini notched the third-best time in Cougar history in the 200 back, as did Kelly Tannhauser in the 400 IM. A total of eight Cougar swimmers made the Cougar all-time top-10 lists.
In his first season with the Cougars, Jager led the team to two dual meet victories. The Cougars took ninth place at the Pac-12 Championships, qualifying for 16 (2013-21, 2014-25) spots in evening sessions, including a 21st-place finish by Shelbi Luchini in the 400 IM with a time of a 4:21.18, landing her second on the WSU all-time list.
A 1987 graduate of UCLA, Jager joined the program in May 2011 after seven seasons as the head coach at the University of Idaho. Jager took charge of the Vandal program in January 2004, reviving the Idaho program that had been dormant for nearly two decades. He also helped into diving to the school beginning in the 2008-09 season.
A native of Collinsville, Ill., Jager earned six NCAA championships, including five individual, and two Olympic gold medals (1984) as a member of relay teams by the time he graduated from UCLA. He added two gold medals on relay teams and a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle at the 1988 Olympic Games. In 1992, he closed out his Olympic career with a gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay and a bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle.
Jager is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame and the USA Swim Team of the Century. He is a former captain of the U.S. national team, won 11 national titles and held the 50-meter freestyle world record three times, including a 10-year run from 1990-2000.
Jager and his wife, Becky, have two sons, Wyatt and Cy.