Vandam makes a splash at Hamline

The Swim and Dive team has named a new head coach to their team after Coach Weyandt stepped down in early September.


Nathan Steeves
Hamline’s new swim coach, Coach Vandam, took over a long and successful program. She’s coming into the program after swimming Division 1 and coaching high school programs for years. She’s excited to make waves this year.

Jilly Wortman, Senior Reporter

A few weeks back, Katy Vandam took over Hamline’s Swim and Dive team. 

“Coach Katy has been an awesome addition to our close-knit team. She has made this awkward transition period fun for us,” Senior Lilah Fischer said. 

The Minnesota native may be new to Hamline but is far from new to the world of swim. 

“I started competitive swimming when I was six. I come from a swimming family. Our family would all be together on the weekends, my parents would work the swim meets and I would get to hang out with my brothers the whole time” Vandam said.

Vandam took her swimming career to the University of New Mexico and then continued on to swimming masters. 

“I haven’t really taken a break for more than maybe three or four weeks since I was six,” Vandam said.

Nathan Steeves
Hamline’s best kept secret; the swimming pool located inside the Bush Center, home of the Hamline University Swim and Dive Team.

Vandam’s coaching career began while in college. She took coaching jobs in the summer. This led to working for New York’s Parks and Recreation department as their summer swim coordinator. Coaching has been written in the stars for Vandam.

“I remember in high school and club swimming during the meets I would hang out with my friends but I would always stand next to my coaches and talk to them about everyone’s swimming. I was interested in learning about what they say about what was going on,” Vandam said.

This year is important in many ways, the main reason being how many competitions can once again occur after too long a time. 

“I’m trying really hard to figure out what I can do this season for the student athletes because they missed out on so much last year, so what can we bring back?” Vandam asks.

Nathan Steeves
Vandam is focused on knowing the athletes on a personal level in order to best coach them to their needs. She believes that knowing the person is an important part of knowing the athlete.

Vandam understands that each athlete is different and requires different things to succeed. 

“My goal is to try and get to know the student athletes on the team before I work on the different goals for getting the program where I want it to be,” Vandam said. “As a coach it’s remember[ing] what went well when you were swimming, what made you feel good, what didn’t really work but might have worked for somebody else. You coach a team but everybody needs something different from you.”

It’s also important to Vandam that she remembers where she came from and the people who helped her get to where she is now. 

“I have taken something from absolutely everybody that I have been coached by, but also friends and people that I have coached with. I have always tried to bring in people who know things that I don’t know because I don’t know everything. I love learning from other perspectives,” Vandam said.

Hamline is full of history. Vandam has ambitions of bringing the swim and dive history into the current time. 

“Hamline was a tremendous swimming school in the 70’s and 80’s. There are like 500 All-American swimmers who have passed through this college. I think we can pull from that history as well,” Vandam said.

The inspiration is there for this season. Vandam is ready for this next chapter with the Hamline team and the team is ready for her.

Nathan Steeves
The Hamline Swim and Dive team have an extremely successful history in the MIAC and are looking to continue this trend under Vandam into the 2021-22 season.