Tomas Kuzvard, coach of the UMSL swimming teams

By KATIE RUTLEDGE

For the first time in 18 years, the University of Missouri–St. Louis returned to the pool this fall when men’s and women’s swimming and diving was reinstated as an intercollegiate sport. Led by head coach Tomas Kuzvard, a former NCAA Division II and international standout, he has been working hard at starting the program back up and has goals of returning it to national prominence.

Can you explain what it is like to be the first swim coach in 18 years at UMSL?

It is hard to put into words. We held an alumni evening and that really allowed me to understand the history of the program. I was able to meet some very nice people with very interesting stories. Until that night I thought I was only responsible for my team and did not really realize I have 30-plus years of UMSL swimming history behind me. For me the responsibility is huge. This is my first head coaching position and I feel so privileged to be here and starting this program as well as starting my career.

How do you feel your previous swimming experience has led you to UMSL?

I think the reason I got this position is because of my career. I got a really great reference from my previous head coach at Drury. Since they are in the same division, same state and same conference, I was familiar, but did not know that much about the school. I have really benefited from knowing Division II and the GLVC in general. I am also able to bring a lot of great things from Drury to better the UMSL program for years to come. I was also an assistant coach at Ohio Northern for a year, but I was able to get a glimpse at how that coach organized and structured her program. I am very competitive and am looking for my swimmers to be competitive as well.

What is your favorite part about UMSL?

My favorite part about UMSL is the athletic department and the way it works. Every coach has a special ability that they bring. I also really like the closeness of the department and how everyone works toward the same goals and pushes the entire athletic program to get better.

What are the strengths of the team at this point in the season?

The main strength of the team thus far is the enthusiasm the swimmers bring to the program. They are excited to be on the team and to be a part of building the foundation for a program. Each individual swimmer brings something different to the team and it allows them to compliment and benefit from each other. They all come from different backgrounds, but they really mesh well together and complement each other.

What is your most memorable moment during your swimming career?

I would say being on a collegiate level national championship team at Drury – that is something you will always remember. Every year I go home for Christmas I visit my first serious swimming coach to catch up and talk about old stories. I am thankful to have this opportunity because she is a lot of the reason I am where I am today and who I am. She, as well as my family, laid my foundation in swimming.


Katie Rutledge
is a UMSL senior majoring in education with an emphasis in elementary education. She’s also an outfielder on the UMSL softball team and an athletics media intern.

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Mary Ann Mitchell

Mary Ann Mitchell

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens
Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.