Todd Waikel is entering his 10th season as the diving coach with the University of Iowa swimming and diving program.
In his nine seasons in Iowa City, Waikel has coached five All-Americans, 15 NCAA Championships qualifiers, and he was instrumental in helping the UI diving program become a USA Diving “Center of Excellence.”
During the 2021-22 season, Waikel coached three student-athletes to NCAA Zone D Diving standards. Sophomore Sarah Ballard scored off both the 1-meter and 3-meter at the Big Ten Championships. Academically, two divers earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
During the 2020-21 season, Waikel coached junior Sam Tamborski to her third straight NCAA Championships appearance off the 3-meter springboard. Three Hawkeyes qualified for the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships and three divers scored at the Big Ten Championships. In the classroom, two of Waikel’s divers were CSCAA Scholar All-Americans.
In 2019-20, Waikel coached a pair of underclassmen divers to All-America honors in three events. Freshman Mohamed Neuman earned the distinction off the platform and 3-meter, while sophomore Sam Tamborski was 3-meter All-American.
He coached a pair of underclassmen divers to All-America honors in three events. Freshman Mohamed Neuman earned the distinction off the platform and 3-meter, while sophomore Sam Tamborski was 3-meter All-American.
Waikel coached Neuman (seventh, platform) and Tamborski (seventh, 3-meter) to top-eight finishes at the Big Ten Championships, and during the course of the season, seven divers garnered Big Ten weekly recognition.
During the 2018-19 season, Waikel coached four Hawkeyes — Will Brenner, Anton Hoherz, Jayah Mathews, and Sam Tamborski — to the NCAA Championships. Mathews (fourth, 3-meter) and Hoherz (eighth, 1-meter) were top-eight finishers at the Big Ten Championships.
During the course of the season, Hawkeye divers earned four Big Ten weekly honors. Mathews was a three-time Big Ten Diver of the Week, while Tamborski earned Freshman of the Week honors.
In 2017-18, Waikel coached two Hawkeyes — sophomore Thelma Strandberg and freshman Jayah Mathews — to the NCAA Championships and eight Iowa student-athletes were NCAA Zone qualifiers.
Waikel also coached student-athletes to six Big Ten Diver or Big Ten Freshman of the Week during the course of the season and freshman Anton Hoherz broke the school record off the platform at the Big Ten Championships.
During the 2016-17 season, Waikel had two student-athletes — senior Calli Head and freshman Thelma Strandberg — qualify for the NCAA Championships off the platform. Head concluded her career as a first-team All-American — Iowa’s first off the platform since 1999 — after tallying a sixth place finish.
The Hawkeyes had three divers garner Big Ten Diver of the Week honors during the course of the season, and sophomore Will Brenner broke the school record off the 1-meter (368.00).
In 2015-16, Waikel had three divers — Addison Boschult, Calli Head, and Lydia Lehnert — qualify for the NCAA Championships on the platform, eight divers post NCAA Zone Diving Standards, and had two divers garner three Big Ten Conference weekly accolades. Boschult narrowly missed earning All-America honors for a second-straight season after placing 18th — two points shy of a top-16 finish.
The Hawkeyes dove to school records in two events on the year. Freshman Will Brenner, a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree, set the 1-meter springboard (365.00) school record at the Hawkeye Invitational, while junior Calli Head tied the women’s platform record (312.20) at the 2016 Big Ten Championships, where she earned a bronze medal.
Sophomore Morgan Rafferty also earned a weekly accolade, earning Big Ten Diver of the Week honors Dec. 16 after winning a pair of events in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series dual victory over Iowa State.
Waikel coached two athletes at the 2016 USA Diving Olympic Trials. Boschult qualified on the platform, while former Hawkeye All-American Deidre Freeman-Huff competed in the 3-meter springboard.
During the 2014-15 season, Waikel had three divers advance to the NCAA Championships and eight divers post NCAA Zone Diving Standards. Boschult earned honorable mention All-America honors on the platform after finishing 10th at the NCAA Championships, while Head (platform) and Joelle Christy (1-meter) qualified for the NCAAs.
Two school records were broken during the season on the platform. Boschult dove to the men’s record at the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships with a score of 409.20, while sophomore Lydia Lehnert took down the women’s record with a 312.20.
In 2013-14, seven UI divers qualified for the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships. The Hawkeyes got a pair of top-five finishes and school records on the platform at the zones by Boschult and Head.
Waikel coached divers to three of the top seven scores in the 3-meter in school history throughout the course of the season. One of the divers — Abby Grilli — posted the fourth-best score (354.10) and was a three-time Big Ten Diver of the Week honoree.
Under Waikel’s watch, Iowa diving has turned into a major player on the national diving scene as USA Diving recognized Hawkeye diving as “Center of Excellence” for 2014. Much of the attention can be attributed to Freeman-Huff, who has excelled under Waikel’s tutelage.
Freeman-Huff was bronze medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games and placed fourth at FINA Grand Prix Meet. She also won the 3-meter synchronized diving event at the USA Diving Winter Nationals, claimed the 3-meter and 3-meter synchro events at the AT&T Diving Championships and placed 11th on the 1-meter at the FINA World Championships in Spain.
In 2014, Freeman-Huff was named to the U.S. Olympic Performance Squad, finished eighth at the FINA Diving World Series in China, and earned the bronze at the Canada Cup and 2014 Malaysia Grand Prix. She also earned a bronze at the 2015 Pan Am Games with Waikel serving as a Team Leader for Team USA.
Waikel joined the Hawkeyes after putting together an impressive collegiate and national diving resume during his seven-year stint as assistant diving coach at Indiana University. He helped the Hoosiers to five Big Ten Conference titles (four women’s, one men’s) and three top 10 NCAA finishes in his seven seasons. He also has coached 10 USA Diving National Teams to titles since 2006.
In his final season at Indiana, Waikel coached six Indiana divers to 11 All-America honors. Darian Schmidt and Zac Nees earned All-America status on all three boards. Schmidt won the individual Big Ten title on the platform and was the Big Ten Diver of the Championship.
In 2010-11, Waikel was key in guiding the Indiana women’s squad to its third consecutive Big Ten title and Laura Ryan to her first win on the women’s platform. He also coached Amy Korthauer and Amy Cozad at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China.
In 2009-10, Waikel coached Gabby Agostino to her first Big Ten title, while helping IU to the women’s team title. Hoosier All-American Christina Loukas won a national title on the 3-meter springboard at the USA Diving Winter Nationals, and Amy Korthauer earned a spot on the U.S. National Team for the FINA World Cup in China.
In 2009, Waikel helped Loukas to Big Ten and NCAA titles on the 3-meter springboard, as well as NCAA Diver of the Year, Big Ten Diver of the Year, and Big Ten Diver of the Championships honors. Brittney Feldman also finished third in the 3-meter at the NCAA meet to garner All-America recognition.
In 2008, Waikel’s divers captured four Big Ten titles, earning diver of the year, diver of the championship and coach of the year honors on both the men’s and women’s sides. Feldman captured conference titles in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard and went on to earn All-America honors in both events. Landon Marzullo won the same events on the men’s side and was an All-American in all three diving events.
In 2007, Loukas turned in one of the most dominant performances in Big Ten diving history, becoming just the fourth diver to win all three diving events at the meet. She earned Big Ten Diver of the Year and Diver of the Championship honors for the third straight season. Loukas went on to earn first-team All-America honors after finishing as the runner-up in the 1-meter, while two other divers earned honorable mention recognition.
Loukas, a 2008 Olympian, won her first national title with a win in the 1-meter at the 2007 NCAA Championships, and she defended that title in 2008 and 2009. She was also a silver medalist in the 3-meter and a bronze in the 3-meter synchro at the World University Games. Loukas was a seven-time USA National Champion and six-time Big Ten champion under Waikel’s watch. Loukas earned All-America honors on all three boards in 2006.
Waikel served as a USA Diving team leader/coach at the FINA Grand Prix in Montreal and the 2011 USA Diving Team coach at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China.
The 1994 Purdue University graduate with a degree in speech communications is a safety certified, U.S. Diving Grassroots and Dive Safe instructor. He and his wife, Marlene, are the parents of nine children: Damian, Hannah, Nathan, Dominic, Jonah, Paul, Christopher, Clare and Vincent.