Michael Camper, Maclin Simpson Promoted to Associate Head Coaches at Kentucky

michael camper maclin simpson uk kentucky
Photo Courtesy: Kentucky Athletics

The University of Kentucky swimming and diving program has promoted Michael Camper and Maclin Simpson to associate head coaches, as announced by UK and head coach Lars Jorgensen on Monday.

The recent promotions of Camper and Simpson follow the departure of Allison Reed Leather, who will be pursuing new opportunities with her family. She served as UK’s assistant coach for three seasons before being named the associate head coach in 2019.

The 2021-22 season will mark Camper’s fourth season with the Wildcats. During his first year on campus in 2018-19, the men finished seventh at the SEC Championships before earning their first top-25 finish at the NCAA Championships since 2013.

Camper helped lead the men’s team to another seventh-place finish at the 2020 SEC Championships with a former program-high 724 points, breaking seven school records and posting the first swimming podium finish in over seven years en route to collecting four medals. UK also had five men earn an invitation to the NCAA Championships that year, the most since 2010.

The men continued to improve in 2020-21, finishing seventh at the conference meet with a program-record 759 points. The Wildcats posted 36 best times throughout the 2021 SEC Championships and had two swimmers invited to NCAAs in a combined four events. Zane Rosely became the first UK male freshman swimmer since 2013 to earn a bid to the big dance and Mason Wilby was named All-America Honorable Mention.

Prior to arriving in Lexington, Camper served as an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 2017-18 and the University at Buffalo in 2016-17. He also has experience coaching at the club level with the Rappahannock Area YMCA Stingrays, Massad YMCA, Olive Chapel Otters, and Weatherstone Sharks.

A three-year captain at NC State University, Camper helped transform the Wolfpack into one of the nation’s premier programs. The Fredericksburg, Va. native was an All-ACC and All-America performer during his time in Raleigh, leading the team to the ACC title in 2015 as a senior after a runner-up finish in 2014.

“Michael has provided great energy and leadership these past few years, and he is passionate about UK and the development of the total student-athlete,” said Jorgensen. “He has been outstanding on the recruiting trail and I look forward to seeing his continued impact on the program.”

Simpson returned to his alma mater at the start of the 2019-20 season. Following the 2020 SEC Championships where the Wildcats finished third with a then-program-high 987.5 points, a school-record 10 women earned an invitation to the NCAA Championships to compete in a combined 23 events – also a school record at the time – before the meet was canceled due to the pandemic.

Simpson’s second year on the coaching staff at UK in 2020-21 was one for the history books. The women clinched their first-ever SEC Championship title in program history with a score of 1,124, surpassing the previous record by 136.5 points. Simpson helped guide the women to 12 top-three finishes, including three gold medals and five school records.

A program-best 15 Wildcats in a combined 38 individual entries and three relays were invited to compete at the 2021 NCAA Championships, with UK having the fourth-largest team at the meet. The women finished 11th in the nation and scored 152 points in Greensboro, marking the best team finish and most points scored in school history. Behind a silver-medal finish in the 800 free relay and a bronze from Lauren Poole in the 400 IM, UK produced eight All-America and 15 All-America Honorable Mention selections.

Before returning to Lexington, he was a senior reporter for SwimSwam from 2018-19 and covered the sport at every level with an emphasis on college swimming. Simpson was an associate producer at FloSwimming from 2016-18, creating innovative video and written content to assist in the growth of the sport while elevating its popularity through digital-media content. He also served as an assistant coach at Highlander Aquatics in 2015.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Simpson was a three-time team captain for the Wildcats from 2009-14, swimming under Jorgensen during his final season. He primarily competed in butterfly and IM events.

“Maclin was instrumental in helping us win our first SEC championship. He helped Allison and myself ensure the women’s team was ready to compete at the highest level at both the SEC and NCAA Championships,” said Jorgensen. “He has been an excellent leader, a hard worker, and a great coach who is well deserving of the promotion.”

The Wildcats also recently named Bridgette Alexander as an assistant coach ahead of the 2021-22 season.