Al Switzer has become synonymous with the Plymouth State women’s swimming and diving program. Now in his 27th season in 2017-18 Coach Switzer has guided the Panthers to consistently strong showings at the annual New England Championships, and PSU won the New England Team Sportsmanship Award under Switzer in 2010. Coach Switzer was recognized for his lifetime of dedication and commitment to coaching swimming and diving with a feature article in Swimming World Magazine in 2015.
Most recently, Switzer guided freshman Casey Allaire to the New England Championships in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dive, while helping her earn Little East Conference Rookie Diver of the Year honors.
The Panthers achieved a 7-3 dual meet record in 2015-16, the best record for the program since 2009-10, and Switzer was voted Little East Conference Women's Swimming Coach of the Year. PSU also posted a combined 13-6 dual meet record from 2008-10, winning its final six meets in 2009 to finish 6-4 and posting a 7-2 record in 2009-10, the team’s best since 1998. Overall, Coach Switzer has guided the Panthers to a 124-108 overall dual meet record in 25 seasons.
Switzer guided the Panthers to seven straight winning seasons in the 1990s. He has helped several swimmers to reach the NCAA ‘B’ Provisional time standards, and was named New England Women’s Diving Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004 after coaching three of the top five divers in New England.
Switzer has lengthy experience in coaching both swimmers and divers, and allows daily individual attention to each. Much of his success can be credited to his team philosophy of hard work, commitment to goals and a constant emphasis on basic techniques.
A Harvard graduate, Switzer coached for 19 years at the University of Maine at Orono, where he guided the highly successful men’s program to two New England Division I titles. He was inducted into the UMaine Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, and was previously inducted into the Hebron Academy (Maine) Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Maine Swimming Hall of Fame in 2015.
During six weeks of the summer, Switzer and his wife, Betsy, run the well-known Sandwich Aquatic School in Center Sandwich. The learn-to-swim program, staffed by seven full-time instructors, completed its 50th season in 2016.
Switzer received the prestigious Walter Smith Award for Coaches from the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News in 2014.