Chris Maiello enters his second season as UND’s Head Swimming and Diving Coach and looks to build on a remarkable 2013-14 season that saw UND enter new heights in its Division I era. Maiello's impressive background of success at the collegiate and international levels has already paid dividends at UND.
Last season, both the men's and women's squads improved markedly on their 2012-13 records as both finished with winning dual records. The UND women boasted a 9-7 dual meet record while the men improved on a 2-10 record to post a 7-5 mark under Maiello. North Dakota enjoyed eight combined wins over regional rivals South Dakota and South Dakota State in his first season on deck at UND.
2013-14 marked the first season in the Western Athletic Conference for the UND men and with that came the first-ever WAC champion for the UND program. Austin Smith became the first UND male to win a WAC championship, winning both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. His 100 time of 53.29 gave UND its first-ever male winner and an NCAA-B cut. He turned the trick again in the 200 breast, this time breaking both school and conference records with a 1:56.15 time. The previous WAC mark had stood for 16 years before Smith smashed it on Saturday of the league meet.
North Dakota also dominated the WAC weekly awards, being recognized eight different times in '13-14 with "Athlete of the Week" accolades from the conference. Richard Eberle picked up a league-best four Male Diver of the Week awards while Austin Smith won the Male Swimmer of the Week twice. Rachael Waldbillig (Female Diver) and Morgan Lynch (Female Swimmer) were also recognized once in a very successful campaign.
All told, 15 different school records were broken during the 2013-14 season and three divers qualified for the NCAA Zone meet at season's end.
"We are excited to have Coach Maiello on board,” said Faison at the time of his hiring. "His passion for the sport, his in-depth knowledge of developing training based on energy systems, his communication skills and his tenacious recruiting abilities will serve our program well."
Maiello came to UND after spending the previous five seasons as the assistant men’s swimming coach and recruiting coordinator at the United States Naval Academy. His list of accomplishments include helping lead the Midshipmen to a 61-11 record with 11 individual and seven relay conference champions. In his tenure at Navy, Maiello mentored 29 swimmers with all-time top ten performances at the academy with five of his athletes swimming at the 2012 Olympics Trials meet. He was also the head swimming coach for the Navy USA swimming team and the U.S. National Military team, where he's trained and coached athletes at the 2010 World Military Swimming Championships in Warendorf, Germany and the 2011 World Military Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Maiello quickly rose through the coaching ranks, leading the men's swimming and diving programs at Amsterdam High School immediately upon graduation before landing as an assistant and later head coach at the University of Rochester (2005-06). He then transitioned to become the head men's and women's swimming coach and aquatics director at Darton College (2006-08).
In his two seasons at Darton (2006-08), his team set or reset 31 of 39 school records. In his first season, he recruited and signed 32 athletes. His recruiting acumen would later land him a class that ranked 13th in the nation in 2012-13 at Navy. Maiello inherited a Darton program that saw its men's team place 12th and its women's team 15th at the 2006 NJCAA National Championship in the year prior to his arrival. His initial season at the school saw the women place seventh and the men place ninth at the 2007 national event, with both programs recording third-place showings at the 2008 championship meet. Among the swimmers he coached at Darton were two who won junior college national titles.
A two-time NCAA All-America honoree as a student-athlete at Hartwick College, earned accolades in the 100 and 200 freestyle events (2002 and 2001, respectively). He left the school as the record holder in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle events.