Fordham Takes Interim Tag off Olympic Medalist Tom Wilkens; Now Officially Head Coach

Photo Courtesy: Fordham Athletics

After serving as the interim head coach for Fordham swimming & diving since October, Tom Wilkens has been given the title of head coach of the program, it was announced by Fordham director of athletics Ed Kull.

Wilkens becomes the 12th full-time head coach in the 99-year history of the Fordham swimming & diving team, which began in 1925.

“We are thrilled to permanently welcome Tom into the Fordham Athletics family,” said Kull. “The success of his swimming career and the team’s success this past season as our interim head coach speaks to his tremendous qualifications for this job.  His care for our student-athletes and passion for the job was evident throughout last season. I am confident our swim and dive program will be elevated with Tom at the helm.”

“I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this team going forward on a permanent basis.  After spending this past season as the interim coach of this outstanding group of student athletes, I realized how much love and passion I have for this great sport, and how much I enjoy being at Fordham University.  I am extremely excited and motivated to build upon the proud tradition of Fordham Swimming and Diving and am looking forward to laying the groundwork for the future success of this program,” said Wilkens.

Under Wilkens, Fordham had a very successful 2023-24 season, as the women’s program posted its third consecutive undefeated dual meet season and finished third at the Atlantic 10 Championship, while the men’s team recorded an 8-1 dual meet record for the second straight year and a sixth-place finish at the Atlantic 10 Championship.

Individually, junior Ainhoa Martin won three individual events at the 2024 Atlantic 10 Championship and was selected as the Championship’s Most Outstanding Performer.  She also became Fordham’s first NCAA Championship qualifier since 2012, placing 38th in the 200 breaststroke and 56th in the 200 IM.  Junior Jessica Zebrowski was also an Atlantic 10 champion, winning the 100 butterfly event, to earn First Team All-League honors.  The Rams also had four Second Team All-Atlantic 10 selections for the women and set nine school records.

For the men, the Rams had three Second Team All-Atlantic 10 selections at the 2024 Championship, all in the relays, while posting seven new school records throughout the year.

“I would like to express my appreciation to Fordham Athletic Director Ed Kull, Senior Executive Associate Athletic Director Makini Thompson, and the entire staff of the Fordham Athletic Department for their support this past year and for their commitment to me, the Swimming and Diving Program, and all student athletes and coaches here at Rose Hill.  I especially want to give my heartfelt love and thanks to my wife, Stephanie, and my children, Bryce and Kasey, for their unwavering support of me as I dive headfirst into this exciting new venture!”

Wilkens brought a plethora of international, collegiate, and club experience and knowledge to Rose Hill.  As a competitor in the pool, he was the captain of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which won 33 overall medals, accounting for a third of all U.S. medals won at the 2000 Games.  Individually, he earned bronze in the 200-meter individual medley.

Additionally, Wilkens served as USA Swimming National Team captain from 2000-03 and was a World Champion at the 2002 World Championships in Moscow, taking gold in the 400-meter individual medley, setting a new American record in the event.  He also earned multiple gold medals in other international competitions, including the Goodwill Games, World Cup, Pan Pacific Championships, World University Games, and U.S. Open.

A 16-time U.S. National champion, Wilkens was a four-time Kipputh Award Winner, which is given to the high point scorer at the U.S. National Championships.

Wilkens made his name in collegiate swimming at Stanford University, where he was a two-year captain, a five-time NCAA champion, a 16-time All-American selection, and a 10-time Pac-10 champion.  He helped Stanford win the 1998 NCAA Championship, becoming one of only three Stanford swimmers to win three events in a single NCAA Championship.  He was inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame for his collegiate success and was one of 26 swimmers named to the Pac-10 All-Century Swim Team.

As a club and USA Swimming certified coach, Wilkens has worked with the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County since 2016.  He has coached various age group levels from 11-12 through National Team and seen his swimmers become YMCA National Champions, Division I recruits, and Olympic Trials qualifiers.

Wilkens graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science, and lives in New Jersey with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children, Bryce and Kasey.  Bryce is a freshman on the Fordham men’s swimming team.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Fordham. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact 

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