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Jonas Persson Named Next Head Coach of Utah Swimming & Diving Team

May 3, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced this morning that Jonas Persson has been named the next head coach of the Utah men's and women's swimming & diving program. Persson takes over after spending the last three seasons as the associate head coach of the Utes.

"We had an incredible level of talent in our candidate pool and attracted the interest of many fantastic coaches for this search," said Director of Athletics Mark Harlan. "Through this process it was clear that Jonas has a defined strategy to continue to build upon the success of our swimming and diving program, and a focus on recruiting and developing even greater competitive excellence. His experience not only as an elite collegiate and Olympic swimmer, but also his leadership qualities and ability to bring out the best in our student-athletes, made him the clear choice for this role. I'd like to thank our committee, chaired by sport supervisor Gavin Gough, and consisting of Deputy Athletics Director Charmelle Green and Faculty Athletics Representative Karen Paisley, for their tremendous work on this search."

Persson served as the Utes' interim head coach during the postseason portion of Utah's 2022 schedule and was instrumental in guiding the men's swimming team to break four school records at the NCAA Championships. Two of those records (200 and 400 medley relay) were set just two weeks earlier at the Pac-12 Championships along with a new school record in the 100 breast.

At the Pac-12 Championships, Persson coached 10 Utes on both the men's and women's teams that posted all-time top-10 performances at Utah.

The year prior, as associate head coach, Persson saw sprinter Cooper DeRyk become a second-team All-American in the 50 free to highlight the 2020-2021 season. He also helped guide the 200 medley relay team to a second-team All-American performance at the 2021 NCAA Championships.

"I am very excited and honored to have been given this opportunity to lead the University of Utah Swimming & Diving program. It's been a pleasure to work with Utah student-athletes since we joined the Pac-12 in 2011, and to see the success we have had since then. I believe that this team and athletics department are ready to take the Swim & Dive program to new heights of success. I can't thank the search committee enough, especially Charmelle and Gavin, and most of all I want to thank Mark for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank all the student-athletes, staff, and alumni who expressed faith in me and pushed me to pursue this opportunity. In addition, my wife and I have called Salt Lake City home for many years, and we really know what this community, city, and University have to offer. I know that our teams can be at the top of the Pac-12 and national rankings every year, and I'm excited to start. GO UTES!"

Joining the Utah staff for the first time in 2011, Persson was the head sprint coach at Utah for five seasons, helping student-athletes break every men's team record and 17 women's team marks, in addition to 55 top-10 all-time performances. He coached seven swimmers that qualified for the NCAA Championships and 11 that ranked in the top-50 nationally.

Persson was influential in helping Nick Soedel become the first Ute ever to medal at the Pac-12 Championships (bronze in 2013) and earn Utah's second individual championship with his first-place finish in the 100 free (2014) where he garnered All-American honors. Soedel also placed fifth in the 100 freestyle and 14th in the 50 freestyle at the 2015 NCAA Championships, earning him honorable mention All-American honors. Persson also coached All-American Traycie Swartz to an 11th-place finish in the 100 freestyle at the 2014 NCAA Championships.

Prior to rejoining the Utes in 2019, Persson spent three seasons as the head coach at the University of Toledo and guided the Rockets to a breakout season in 2017-18. Toledo's individual swimmers appeared on the conference top-10 list 11 times and Toledo's relay teams finished in the top-four on four occasions. Toledo earned the program's best finish in five years at the MAC Championships, finishing sixth with 254 points, a 14-point improvement over the previous year.

A native of Sweden, Persson has competed at the highest levels of international swimming, including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he was a member of his native country's fifth-place 4x100 free relay team, finished 11th in the 4x100 medley relay, and 13th in the 100 freestyle. Persson was a part of the European champion 4x100 free relay in 2008 and the bronze medalist squad in 2010. He also was a finalist at the 2005 World Championships in the 4x100 free relay. He remains a Swedish record-holder and the No. 2 sprint freestyler in the history of Sweden. He won 16 Swedish national championships.

During his collegiate career, Persson set seven school records at the University of Tennessee, where he was a 13-time All-American and team captain for the Volunteers. In the classroom, Persson obtained a Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Sports Studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Tennessee.

Persson grew up in Malmo, Sweden where he attended St. Petri High School. He married his wife Darby in the summer of 2015 and they welcomed their first child, Novali Mae, to the family in June 2018.