James Sweeney has been the Aquatics Director and Head Coach of the Men's & Women's Swimming and Diving teams at Regis College since September 2012. Since taking over the program, the teams have had tremendous success in the classroom and in the pool.
In both 2018 and 2019, Sweeney has been voted the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men’s Coach of the Year by his peers. In 2019, the men's team finished second at the GNAC Championships and seventh in the NEISDA Championships. They were led by Joshua Unas, the GNAC Men's Swim & Dive Athlete of the Year.
In 2018, the men’s team was named the GNAC Men’s Institutional Sportsmanship Award recipient, and for the first time in program history, a Regis swimmer was awarded the GNAC Men’s Swimmer of the Year as Nick Rainville received the honor. Academically in 2017-18, a record 12 of his student-athletes earned GNAC all-academic honors breaking the previous year’s record of 11, with both teams ranking in the nation in team GPA. A record 25 student-athletes earned New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving (NEISDA) Academic honors in 2017-18.
In 2015, the men had its highest GPA (3.46) which ranked them fifth in the country, and have been nationally ranked in the top 32 nine of the past 12 semesters, and in the top 10 for three semesters. The women’s team has been nationally ranked 11 out of the past 12 semesters with spring 2016 being their highest GPA (3.47) ranked 20th in the country. Twice in the past six years the swimming and diving team was the recipient of the Judith Burling Team Award for the highest team GPA.
In the pool, the men and women have broken an outstanding 109 school records in the past six years. Prior to Coach James's arrival, the women's team only had one record broken in the previous 12 seasons, and only two since 1997, but have had 19 in the past six years. The men's team not only has produced 90 school records in the past six years, but also has had many "firsts" for the program as well such as scoring points at the ECAC Championships and being the highest scoring Division III team, and having several NCAA "B" qualifying times. The men's team has also produced five pool records at away dual meets. At last year's New England Championships, the women's team for the fourth time in program history finished in the top nine, three of which were the last three years. The men had their third highest finish in program history placing sixth while having two NEISDA Champions.
Sweeney has coached several Olympic Medalists (1 Gold, 3 Bronze) and Olympians, National Champions and record holders, College and High School All-Americans, U.S. Swimming Zone Camp participants, and U.S Open, Junior National, and Senior National qualifiers. He began his college coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts while obtaining his Master's degree in Sport Management. He then went on to the University of Miami where he was an assistant coach before being promoted to head coach. During his tenure as head coach at the University of Miami, he also co-owned and operated a USS swim team named Cane Aquatics, a Master's swim team, a swim lesson program, and a summer sports camp. Subsequent to Miami, he moved back to the Boston area and got involved with a local YMCA in Andover prior to moving to Illinois. While in Illinois, he served as the CEO/Head Coach of the Naperville Swim Team and later assisted with the Academy Bullet Swim Team before moving back to Miami to work at Gulliver Schools.
As a swimmer, James achieved great success both during high school, and for Olympic swim coach and legend James "Doc" Councilman at Indiana University. During high school, he was a U.S. Olympic Festival Champion, Junior National Champion and Rookie of the Meet at Senior National Championships. He participated in the 1988 Olympic Team Swimming Trials and qualified for the 1992 Olympic Trials. James also broke 4 New England 18 & Under swimming records.
At Indiana University, he was a 4-time NCAA All-American, and a 3-time Big Ten Champion. He is the former school record holder in the 1000 free, 1650 free, and 800 free relay, and had broken pool records at Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and at the University of Illinois. He began learning the science of swimming from the legendary "Doc" Councilman, the coach of Mark Spitz among other greats. James's butterfly stroke is illustrated in "Doc's" book the New Science of Swimming. James was Doc's final Big Ten Champion and NCAA All-American in his illustrious hall of fame coaching career at IU.
James received his B.A. at Indiana University, and a M.S. in Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has a 9 year old son named Broden.
As Head Coach at Gulliver Schools:
- In his first season, the girls’ varsity team finished 9th at the State Championships, while the boys finished in 4th, the boys' highest finish in 20 years.
- He helped produce one USA Swimming National Record, two Florida High School State Champions, Men's District High School Champions 2008-2011, and Sectional, Junior, and Senior National qualifiers.
While coaching with the Academy Bullets Swim Team:
- The team won the Illinois Age Group and Senior Championships in short course and in long course, while James’s swimmers broke 10 team records.
As the CEO/Head Coach of the Naperville Swim Team:
- Team Awarded Silver Medal Status through USA Swimming's 2007 National Club Excellence Program.
- Produced five Senior National Qualifiers, two US Open Qualifiers with one Finalist
- Four Junior National Qualifiers, nine NCSA Junior National Qualifiers with one Finalist
- Three National Age Group USA Top 16 Swims
- 30 Sectional Finalists, 78 JO Finalists with eight Champions
- Seven Team Illinois Swimmers with 23 Finalists and 4 Champions
- 59 New Team Records, 73 Illinois Top Ten Times
- Two High School State Champions
- One swimmer selected for the USA Swimming Zone Select Camp
During his tenure at the Andover/North Andover YMCA as the Director of Competitive Swimming:
- Placed 2nd at both the short course and long course New England Age Group Championship, the team's highest placing in team history
- Five National Top 16 swimmers, including two ranked in the top three in the U.S.
- Four Sectional Finalists
- Six New England Age Group High Point Champions, 30 Individual Event Champions, 78 Finalists
- Two Swimmers selected for the USA Swimming Zone Select Camp
- Two Zone Champions and 11 Zone Finalists
- Two Massachusetts State High School Champions
- 29 YMCA National Qualifiers
- 12 Outstanding New England swimmers, and 44 Top Ten New England swimmers
As the Head Coach at the University of Miami:
- Four Olympians who achieved one Gold Medal and one Bronze Medal
- Two National Champions and Two National Record Holders– Canada and the Virgin Islands
- Eight NCAA All-Americans
- The women's team finished top 20 at the NCAA Championships 4 out of 5 years
- One Big East Swimmer of the Year, 13 Big East Champions, 5 Big East Records
- Women's team broke 8 out of 14 individual and 4 out of 5 relay school records
- In combined NCAA and CSCAA GPA Rankings in 2002, the women's team ranked 1st, the men 3rd, and combined 1st in the country
- Women's team GPA of 3.43 was a school record, Men's team GPA of 3.21 was 7th best ever
As an assistant coach at the University of Miami:
- Five Olympians who achieved two Bronze Medals
- One European National Champion
- 1995 Big East Men's Team Champions
- Seven NCAA All-Americans
- 32 Big East Champions
At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst:
- The men's teams were twice New England Team Champions.