UAF Swim fills coaching vacancy

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:01 PM AKDT
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The University of Alaska Fairbanks announced the hiring of Cameron Kainer as the new head coach for their swim program earlier this week. Kainer will become the third head coach in the program’s history since their resurrection in 2005, replacing Becca Weiland after a one-year stint.

“Two things that really drew me in and really excited me was the leadership and the program’s success in the past,” Kainer said via Zoom. “Dr. Champagne has done a great job of building a great athletic department and Chancellor White has done a fantastic job of leading from the top.”

Kainer joins the program after spending the last seven years as the head men’s and women’s swimming coach at the University of Texas Permian Basin, who have competed in the Pacific College Swim and Dive Conference alongside UAF in years past.

While UAF Swimming has talent on the individual level, the number of swimmers has often fell short of traditional NCAA rosters. Nanook swimming has only had 13 members each of the last two years, while teams are able to score up to 18 swimmers at a given meet. The shortage of swimmers often led to a shortage of points, resulting in an 0-7 team record in 2019.

However, Kainer says he is inheriting a roster with 17 swimmers for the 2020 season, which should help boost their scores.

“We are actually going to have one of the largest teams UAF has had since the inception of the team,” Kainer said. “That is the goal for the years coming up, we are trying to get 20 to 25 swimmers on the team. We are trying to bolster up the numbers because I think the numbers really help out with the competition of the team.”

It could be difficult to recruit the top swimmers to join the Nanooks, which is why Kainer plans to look within the University’s own backyard to add talent. Prior to stepping foot on the UAF campus, Kainer has already done his homework on Alaskan swimmers.

“We are looking for a lot of great Alaskan talent out there and I am super excited about this class that is actually in Alaska right now, the 2021 class is pretty exciting,” Kainer added. “There are a lot of really strong athletes there, so looking forward to it and hopefully sniping a few to come over to Fairbanks.”

Last year, UAF Swim hosted their annual Blue and Gold meet on September 21. The Pacific College Swim Conference has yet to announce a decision on how they will handle the upcoming season.

“It is going to be a little different with everything going on, we are just taking guidance from our Athletic Department on what the season will look like in the fall. We are figuring out the fall schedule and what we are looking to do as far as intrasquad scrimmages and meets and try to make it as real of a season as possible with a midseason championship meet and just trying to get the athletes in a similar mode of what we would be in in a regular season.”

Kainer recorded a 52-20 overall dual meet record at UTPB and is also certified as a USA Swimming Coach.

UAF Athletics currently has coaching vacancies for Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing and their Division I Rifle program.

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