Mark Sowa
Position: Swimming and Diving Head Coach
Alma Mater: The American University
Graduating Year: 1998
Experience: 4 Years
Phone: (208) 885-0265
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Sowa Photos

When Mark Sowa was hired as the University of Idaho swim coach in 2011, he commended the athletic department for revitalizing the program, which had beend dormant for 22 years when it was reinstated in 2004.


During the 20013-14 season, Sowa’s team was one of the best that the program has seen since it was reinstated. The team placed second and won eight of the events at the WAC meet, the most in program history. The team also scored in every event at the WAC meet, a first in program history.


In addition to the WAC meet success, the team broke 14 school records throughout the season, seven individuals, four relays and all three diving events. Sowa also coached the WAC Swimmer of the Year, junior Rachel Millet, after a dominant season in the pool.


At the 2012-13 Western Athletic Conference meet, Sowa’s team had its best finish (a fourth) with three individuals – coming away with four individual titles. Not only did Paige Hunt earn the Diver of the Year award but she won the 3-meter event. Rachel Millet, just a sophomore, captured the 200 IM and 200 freestyle races, while freshman Jamie Sterbis was the winner of the 200 fly.

All told in 2012-13, the Vandals broke 12 school records – six individual, three relays, and all three diving disciplines. They wound up No. 25 in the mid-major poll at season’s end.

In Sowa’s first year as a Vandal, the team also broke 12 school records, won three meets and were ranked as high as 25th in the country among mid-major programs.  They claimed seventh place in the University of Houston Cougar Classic and were named to the Scholar All America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.  In addition, Millet won three WAC Swimmer of the Week awards and diver Paige Hunt won two WAC Diver of the Week awards.

Idaho is not the first program time Sowa  guided to immediate succes at a college program.  Sowa led the Wagner program to many milestones in his three seasons as the head coach. Sowa's swimmers set 23 school records, two conference records, earned 12 All-NEC honors and the program's first NEC Swimmer of the Year award. Sowa also coached the program's first NCAA provisional qualifier.

Wagner owned a combined 15-15 overall record and went 10-4 in the Northeast Conference under Sowa, finishing in the top three in the NEC Championship meet all three seasons, including a second-place finish in 2008-09. Sowa's student-athletes excelled outside of the pool as well, as his swimmers combined for 37 NEC All-Academic honors in his three years.

Before taking over at Wagner, Sowa spent the previous 10 years building his coaching resume. From 2007-08 he was the assistant men's swim coach at Harvard University. Before that he was the coach at the Barracuda Swim Club in Nassau, Bahamas from 2005-07 where he won the Bahamas National Swimming Championship. Sowa was the assistant then interim head coach at Maryland from 2004-05 after stints as an assistant at Brown University from 1999-2001 and at Richmond University 2001-2004

Sowa graduated from The American University with his bachelor's degree in History and Philosophy before earning his master's degree from Brown in American History.

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