Alumnus returns to the pool after collegiate swimming career


Previously published in “The Mount” a publication produced by the staff of Mount Michael’s Journalism team. Follow the journalism team via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube links on


The swim team is in its eleventh year swimming alongside Skutt Catholic on a combined team. For several years, only a few swimmers from Mount Michael participated, so the team was predominantly Skutt swimmers.

However, Mount Michael’s swim team has significantly grown in popularity over the years. From having just three members in the 2013-2014 season to fourteen in the 2019-2020 season, the numbers continue to rise. This season, an alumni has joined as coach, Jackson Thompson ‘16.

Jackson Thompson ‘16 his final race at the Midwest Conference Championship.

“I had seen something about Jackson on Facebook about graduation or his last swim meet or something, and I had sent a message to congratulate him,” head coach Kellie Harris said. “He came back with ‘Can I come back and coach?’ and I was floored. Of course I wanted him to coach with us.”

Thompson, a four year letterman, is no stranger to the swim program. Currently, he holds five school records, placing seventh at state his junior year as well.

“I’d definitely attribute a lot of the success to working with great teammates from the team,” Thompson said. “I had a lot of fun.”

After high school, Thompson took his swimming career to Grinnell College. There, he swam for four years and participated on the water polo team.

“Part of the reason why I chose a Division III school was because it was not as competitive,” he said. “I wanted to be able to swim at a school but not have it define why I was there. I’m really glad that I did that because I made a lot of good friends and had a great time at college.”

Less than a year after graduating college, Thompson felt the need to return back to the Mount to help strengthen Mount Michael’s connection on the joint team.

“At times, I felt very disconnected from Mount Michael,” he said. “We didn’t really have school support. There were times where the swimmers were forgotten. It felt like swimming wasn’t a Mount Michael sport, it was a Skutt sport.”

Thompson has already seen progress within the team.

“I am very excited to be working with Coach Spooner this year,” he said. “He’s done a great job of supporting the swimmers in the past few years. I feel that it is my job to help them feel connected and feel advocated for.”

Despite new COVID regulations and the potential for meets to be cancelled, Thompson is still able to play a significant role in the team.

“Jackson always brings a level of enthusiasm that can’t be matched, Harris said. “I’m excited to have someone around who knows more about the butterfly, but he has a wide range of experience in swimming and generally being a good team member which is invaluable.”

Harris also appreciates how he has balanced out the coaching staff.

“It took me several years to find a male assistant coach, and now our coaching staff is split between two women and two men. I love that,” she said.
After the first week of swim practice, Thompson is already at home within the program.

“I think it’s pretty cool to have a coach from Mount Michael,” Xavier Johansen ‘22 said. “The Mount Michael swimmers can relate to him more, and he knows what it’s like to be a Mount Michael swimmer on a Skutt swim team.”