Jim Wilson completed his 23rd season as head coach of the Dartmouth men's swimming program and 10th season as the women's head coach in 2016. After 14 years at the helm of the men's team, former Director of Athletics Josie Harper pegged Wilson as a natural choice to assume leadership of both varsity programs in 2006.
During the 2015-16 season, the men's team finished in eighth place at the Ivy League Championship,. The Big Green opened the meet by breaking the Dartmouth record in the 200 free relay and James Verhagen broke his own school record in the 200 back. The women's team took first at the Dartmouth Invite and place eighth at the Ivy Champs, finishing just seven points behind Cornell in seventh. AnnClaire MacArt broke her own record from the year before in the 500 free and the Green's 200 free relay also broke the record. Verhagen and MacArt were named Academic All-Ivy and both teams were named Scholar All-America teams by the CSCAA for achieving cumulative grade point averages of 3.0.
In 2014-15, the men's team won the Dartmouth Invitational for the fourth year in a row, leaving a 300-point gap between it and the second place team and breaking three records along the way. At the Ivy League Championship, the Big Green finished in eighth place. James Verhagen broke the Dartmouth school record in the 200 back, David Harmon took the 100 fly record and the 800 free relay re-set the school record by over two seconds. On the women's side, Dartmouth took eighth at Ivy's and broke two records: AnnClaire MacArt in the 500 free and Kendese Nangle in the 100 back. Charlotte Kamai and Verhagen were named to the Academic All-Ivy team and both programs were named Scholar All-America teams by the CSCAA.
At the Ivy League Championships in 2013-14, Wilson guided the men's team to a sixth place finish and the women to an eighth place finish. Senior Nejc Zupan received the Harold Ulen Career High Point Swimmer Award after compiling 361 points during his four years at Dartmouth. Zupan went on to represent the Big Green at the NCAA Division I Championships, finishing 13th in the 100 breast. At the end of the season, Zupan and Charlotte Kumai received Academic All-Ivy honors. Both programs were named Division I Scholar All-America teams by the CSCAA.
During the 2012-13 season, both teams finished in the top five at the Ivy League Championship, highlighted by three event titles from Zupan en route to earning Dartmouth’s first-ever Ivy League Swimmer of the Meet honor. Zupan also became the first Big Green swimmer to reach the NCAA Championships since 1980 and reached the finals in the 200 breaststroke, placing eighth and becoming the first All-American in recent history. The men’s team closed the season ranked in the top 10 in the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major poll – it’s highest ranking in program history.
The Big Green women also had a good season in 2013-14, posting their second consecutive top-five finish at the Ivy League Championships. Diver Katy Feng earned the 3-meter title on the final day of competition and earned Diver of the Meet honors. In all, the Big Green women set 14 of 19 possible school records over the course of the season.
Dartmouth posted one of the best seasons in program history in 2011-12. Both the men and women’s team finished in the top five at the Ivy League Championship. The men’s fifth-place finish was the best finish for the squad since 1981.
Wilson’s first collegiate coaching job was as an assistant at Utah from 1977-87. He was promoted to head coach of the women’s team in 1987 before assuming head coaching duties of both the men’s and women’s teams in 1990. Wilson’s men’s team won the Western Athletic Conference title in each of his three years at the helm. He also earned individual recognition as the University of Utah Coach of the Year in 1992 and the WAC Coach of the Year in 1993. Wilson coached both Utah teams until 1993, when he came to Dartmouth.
Besides college coaching, Wilson coached Anaheim Aquatics (1978) and the Hong Kong national team (1979) and was the director of the Utah Summer Swim Camp (1982-93).
Wilson was also a successful water polo coach until 2006. He coached Utah’s men’s water polo team from 1980-89 and took over as Dartmouth’s coach in 1993. In 1997, he guided the Big Green men to the Collegiate Water Polo Association national title before leading the women to a second-place finish nationally in both 2004 and 2005. In addition, he was named the 2004 National Coach of the Year for women’s water polo.
A 1977 graduate from Utah, where he was an All-America swimmer, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications before earning another bachelor’s in exercise and sport science in 1980. He and his wife, Debbie, have three children, Sarah, Chris and Rachel.