Since the U’s first swim meet with Joe Dykstra as head coach, Herbie Behm, a former swimmer for fellow Pac-12 school ASU, has kept an eye on what the Utes have been doing over the past few years.
“We swam against [Utah] the first year they were in the Pac-12, which was my last year swimming, so since then, I have always tried to keep track.” Behm said.
The Utah swimming and diving team recently announced Behm as the new assistant coach, replacing Jonas Persson.
“[Salt Lake] is awesome — the team especially with the way they have been developing since they transitioned into the Pac-12 these last few years,” Behm said. “Just being a part of something that is growing so quickly is pretty exciting.”
Before receiving his B.A. in psychology and a minor in communications,Behm started his collegiate career at Tennessee but transferred to Arizona State after his freshman year. During his time at ASU, he was a Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention. In high school, he was a 10-time high school All-American, and a former State and National Age Group record holder.
“He is really young out of his swimming career, so it’s nice to see some fresh, new ideas coming through the door,” said head distance coach Michele Lowry. “It’s always nice to have someone on the staff that can really compare to the guys and relate to them, and it creates a better leadership aspect for the men’s team.”
Before arriving in Salt Lake City, Behm previously worked with the Phoenix Swim Club and the U.S. National Team. In 2015, Behm got the chance to coach Gilles Smith, the 2015 Pan-American Games record-holder in the 100-meter butterfly. And this year, he was able to coach a 2016 Olympic Trials finalist and 2016 Olympic Games qualifier.
With Behm’s coaching experience, he has coached athletes all the way to state championships, has coached athletes to break National Age Group Records, and trained them to qualify for regionals, in addition to Olympic Trials. Some of the athletes he has trained over the years have represented international countries and have won medals at World Cups, the Pan-Americans and the Commonwealth Games.
On his first day as an assistant coach at the U, Behm already has great aspirations for his team, seeing the potential his new swimmers have for the upcoming season, and he hopes to see them go further in the Pac-12.
“I think there are a lot of young, talented kids that just need to develop and they have the potential to be Pac-12 finalists,” Behm said.
In helping his swimmers reach their potential, one thing Behm hopes to accomplish next year and in the years to come is to push them to take the next step in their training.
“I just want [to] help the team as much as I can,” Behm said. “I want to help all the swimmers get as good as they can and help them reach their potential as student-athletes.”
As the newest addition to the coaching staff, Lowry is thrilled with Behm. She feels he will be compatible with the staff and that their on-deck presence will be friendly, which will say a lot about their program and help them in the future with recruiting.
“[Behm] has a lot of new, fresh ideas and the swimmers he used to coach are very high-level athletes, so I think he is going to bring in this new era of swimming for our program,” Lowry said. “It’s always fun having a younger coach come in, and I think the level he has coached at is comparable to what we see here at the Pac-12.”
In Behm’s first meet as assistant coach, the women’s swim and dive team will be competing against Oregon State at the Ute Natatorium on Oct. 1 in its first Pac-12 competition of the 2016-2017 season.