NEWMAC Men's Coach of the Year 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 | NEWMAC Women's Coach of the Year 2013-14, 2014-15
Paul Bennett enters his 15th season as the head men and women's swimming and diving coach at WPI in 2018-19. During his tenure, Bennett has elevated the programs to new heights. Both the men and the women have enjoyed success at the conference, regional and national levels.
The men's program has won double-digit dual meets each of the past four years and saw Bennett surpass 100 men's dual meet victories through the 2017-18 campaign. The women, meanwhile, have posted at least a .500 record for eight consecutive seasons with the Class of 2018 accounting for over half of Bennett's 75 wins. Individually, Jack Bauer earned invitations to the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships each of the past three seasons. At the NEWMAC Championships, Bauer clocked the third quickest 100-yard backstroke and sixth quickest 200-yard backstroke in Division III while setting WPI and NEWMAC records in the process. Overall, 11 WPI records (6 women, 5 men) were reset at the 2018 conference event.
Bauer went on to be named a CoSIDA Academic All-America as he was joined by Erick Burgwardt and Randy Melanson on the CSCAA Scholar All-America scroll. Jenny Day, a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, and Hayley Poskus were also honored as CSCAA Scholar All-Americas.
Bennett has made the trip to the national meet each of the past five years. All-America diver Veronika Nikolaki made her way to the NCAA Championships in 2013 and 2014, and again in 2016. On the men's side, the 800-yard freestyle relay has earned a spot on the national stage in 2015 and 2016 while the 400-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relays punched their tickets in 2017. In addition to Jack, Andrew Bauer also garnered a solo invite in 2016. In all, the Crimson and Gray men have handed in two All-America and four honorable mention relay performances, and an individual All-America, as well as five honorable mentions. The men also placed a program-best 16th at the 2017 event.
WPI's first-ever Elite 90 recipient Tim Petri (2017) along with Nathan Hughes (2016) and Jack Bauer (2017, 2018) have been named Academic All-Americans by CoSIDA for their success in the pool and in the classroom. The women have collected 94 Academic All-NEWMAC selections while the men have garnered 66 or a total of 160.
The men boasted a 21-0 record in the first four years the Sports & Recreation Center has been online. They also enjoyed a 10-0 campaign in 2014-2015. The women posted undefeated home records in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016, as well as a single-season program-best 10 wins in 2015-2016.
Bennett coached a six-time All-American (Joel Rousseau), an NCAA participant (Jeff Meyer) and a trio of NCAA qualifiers (Morgan Guardino, Andrew Lybarger and Mason Ruffing). Both his men's and women's teams improved within the NEWMAC and the men captured five of eight Worcester City Meets, which includes Division I Holy Cross, all while practicing in "the tub."
Prior to WPI, Bennett was the head coach and assistant aquatics director of the North Andover YMCA Swim Club in North Andover, Massachusetts. While there, he was responsible for all operations for the joint YMCA/USA Competitive Swim Team. His squad was 2004 East Field Regional Champions, while developing 26 YMCA National Championship qualifiers, 6 YMCA All-Americans, and 2 USA Swimming Academic All-Americans. In addition, his women's team won the 2004 Eastern Mass. District Championships. His combined team was runner-up in the same championships in both 2003 and 2004.
From 1996 through 2001, Bennett was head coach of the Laramie (WY) Swim Club, where his teams won both summer and winter championships four years in a row (1998 to 2001). In recognition of this success, Bennett was named the 2001 American Swim Coaches National Association Age Group Coach of the Year, as well as Wyoming Coaches Association Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001.
Also from 1999 through 2001, he was an assistant coach at Laramie High School, where his teams won two Wyoming 4A State Titles (one men's and one women's). While there, he coached five All-Americans and six academic All-Americans.
Bennett is a graduate of the University of Wyoming in Laramie with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Social Studies Education in 2001.