|Christie Shefchunas Profile|
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Given the responsibility of leading the University of Miami swimming program back to national prominence, Christie Shefchunas will be entering her eighth year as head coach at UM and has re-established the Hurricanes swimming program amongst the nation's elite.
Shechunas has not only developed All-American talent, but has directed several Hurricanes in school-record breaking performances in just seven full years at the helm in Coral Gables. Hired on May 19, 2006 by then Athletic Director Paul Dee, Shefchunas' responsibilities simply included redefining the Hurricanes swimming program alongside a diving program that is annually considered one of the nation's best. Now, after seven seasons, Shefchunas has done that, and much more.
Four of Coach Shefchunas' swimmers qualifed for the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships in Indianapolis, with then-sophomore Lucy Worrall earning Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 100-yard Butterfly event.
The Hurricanes' impressive showing at the Championships, which included a 20th overall finish and the third-best mark of any competing Atlantic Coast Conference team, continued a dominant postseason begun at the 2013 ACC Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
The Hurricanes' 200-Yard Medley Relay Team captured second place and an NCAA "B" cut time in Greensboro, the 200-Yard Freestyle Relay team set a new school record in the event, while numerous individuals broke school records. Senior Sofia Johansson, an NCAA Championships qualifier, captured her third straight gold medal in the 100-Yard Breaststroke at ACC's, while Worrall broke the conference record in the 100-Yard Butterfly with an "A" cut time of 51.98 seconds in preliminaries.
The 2012-13 season built on the success of the previous campaign, considered quite a success for the Canes and certainly one of the best since Shefchunas has been at UM. Her high level of coaching paid off in a big way, as then-senior Kelsi Hall became the University of Miami's first All-American swimmer in a decade with a signature 50-yard freestyle performance (22.12) at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Auburn, Ala.
"This is my first All-American here at Miami," Shefchunas said. "I'm absolutely thrilled. She's somebody that does everything right, and it's nice to see that it pays off."
UM also collected three medals at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Blacksburg, Va. in 2011-12. Johansson secured a gold medal while breaking the 100-yard breaststroke conference record (59.81). Hall placed first in the 50-yard freestyle (22.03) and the 200-yard medley relay team won bronze (1:40.10). Additionally, Hall and Johansson's wins qualified them for the NCAA's Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
Furthermore, Worrall, competed in the England Olympic trials in the 100-butterfly just missing the national cut with a seventh-place finish.
On the season, UM posted big wins against Houston and Indian River State College as well as defeating instate competitors FAU, FIU, North Florida, Florida Southern and Nova Southeastern at the All Florida Invite hosted by the University of Florida. Miami finished the invite with impressive six top 10 finishes.
In her first season (2006-07), Shefchunas earned wins over Western Kentucky, Tampa and local opponent Florida International twice while the Hurricanes finished with just a 4-5 overall record. She would lead the squad to a seventh place finish at the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, followed by a19th place finish at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Those numbers drastically changed in 2007-08 as the talent Shefchunas put so much effort into recruiting paid off during the off-season. The Hurricanes finished 8-3 in dual meets, but the finish at the ACC Championships was far from what Shefchunas expected.
In 2008-09, Shefchunas did something that no other UM women's swimming coach had been able to accomplish since 1995-96--register 10 or more wins in a season. She registered a 10-7 record that year, helping the Hurricanes to an eighth place finish at the ACC Championships in College Park, Md.
During the summer of 2009, Shefchunas saw her first FINA World Championships participant [Saarnak] in Rome. Saarnak competed for her home country of Estonia, and the rising junior performed well in her first-ever international event. Shefchunas came to UM as a well-respected coach. She arrived from Southern Methodist University where she served as an assistant coach for the Mustangs and lead recruiter. During her tenure at SMU, the Mustangs swimming program finished in the top eight at the NCAA Championships on three occasions from 2003-05, as well as earning WAC Conference (2004-05) and Conference USA (2006) Championships.
While there, she assisted in the coaching and development of 22 All-America performers, 33 conference champions and 26 NCAA qualifiers. In her role as lead recruiter for SMU, Shefchunas was instrumental in bringing in 11 student-athletes that earned All-America honors while 20 went on to win conference titles.
Prior to her stint at SMU, she was an assistant coach at Michigan State University in East Lansing. She served in that capacity from 2000-02 where she was in charge of the men's and women's sprint teams. Shefchunas also served as the Capital Area assistant coach in the summer of 2001 and '02. Prior to MSU, she directed the Chartiers Valley Swim Club in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania for nearly two years after serving for a short time as assistant swim coach at the club.
Christie Shefchunas is a 1997 graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. While swimming for the Lady Vols program, Shefchunas was tabbed as a four-time All-American while also serving as a team captain during both her junior and senior seasons. Shefchunas and her teammates still hold numerous Top 10 relay times (200 free, 400 free) for the Lady Vols.
"I said it when I got here, and I will keep saying it until it happens. I'm excited to be at the `U', and I know we'll continue to improve in our efforts to be the best program in the ACC and the nation," remarked Shefchunas. "We have a great facility, great administration and great weather that rival any program in the country. That makes the University of Miami a premier place for student-athletes to want to come. The Hurricane spirit surrounds this program, and I am so excited about the future here."
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