Sean Weddell was named the new Lees-McRae Head Men's and Women's Swimming Coach on August 11, 2017 by Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail. Weddell brings over 10 years of collegiate coaching experience to Banner Elk including stops at Southern Illinois, Akron, Louisiana Monroe, Clemson and Limestone.
"It's my belief, we have found one of the premier swim coaches in the southeast," McPhail said. "I am excited to work with Sean in building our swim program. His experience and passion came through clearly every time we talked. His knowledge of the area as well as desire to get back into intercollegiate swimming was a great fit for us. Sean will make all of us better with his many talents, having an established coach was important to me in this position as we have added swimming. I am certain recruits will look at his experience and see for themselves the value he adds."
Overall, Weddell has spent 25 years involved in swimming in some fashion whether it be as a competitor or as a coach. During that time Weddell coached and designed strength programs for several athletes including former Olympians and NCAA All-Americans.
The new Bobcat head coach got his start in collegiate coaching in 1999. Over the next five years, Weddell was an assistant coach at Southern Illinois (1999-2001), Akron (2001-2002) and Clemson (2002-2004) as an assistant coach. At Southern Illinois, he helped the men's team go undefeated in dual meets in 2000-01 and achieve a top 30 national ranking in 1999-2000. In his year at Akron, the women's team broke 17 team records and had the school's first Mid-American Conference individual champion. At Clemson, Weddell coached the Tigers' first NCAA qualifier in five years and first Atlantic Coast Conference champion and all-American in 15 years. With his help, both the men's and women's teams ranked in the top 40 in the NCAA meet, and the men registered their highest victory total in the 52-year history of the program.
After those three assistant coaching positions, Weddell received his first opportunity to become a collegiate head coach in 2004 when he was named the head men's and women's coach at University of Louisiana at Monroe. Weddell spent one season as the Head Coach at ULM before he moved on to Limestone College to lead their swimming program. As the head coach of the Saints, Weddell coached the first female All-American in the program's history and both his men's and women's squads finished with a team GPA over 3.0.
Until his appointment at Lees-McRae, Weddell has worked at Appalachian State since 2009 and his own coaching business called Way2Finish Coaching since 2007. At Appalachian State, he was the fitness/exercise coordinator for health promotion. He helps serve over 2,000 faculty, staff and spouses with information, programs and services that will help promote a healthier lifestyle. With Way2Finish coaching, Weddell's clients include weekend warrior tri-athletes, U23 national ranked cyclist, and National Age Group and Master's World ITU silver medalist. Additionally, he worked as the head swim coach for the Navy Wounded Warrior Games Team in 2013-2015 where the team showed immediate improvement and had continued success each of those years.
Weddell graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in organizational communications. While he was in Lexington, Weddell also competed on the Wildcats' men's swimming team from 1990-1992. Additionally, Weddell also was an All-American swimmer at Indian River Community College in 1988-1990.
Lees-McRae College's Head Swimming Coach Sean Weddell announced the hiring of Hannah Snyder as an assistant coach on September 26, 2018. Snyder, who recently graduated from Appalachian State with a Master's Degree in exercise science, will be an integral part of the brand new swimming programs for Lees-McRae. Both programs are set to begin their first year of competition in a couple weeks.
During her time at Appalachian State, Snyder focused her studies in strength, conditioning and research on pulmonary function in competitive swimmers. Prior to coming to the High Country, Snyder swam for YOTA (YMCA of the Triangle Area, Raleigh, NC) and attended Towson University where she was a co-captain her junior and senior year and represented her team on the SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee).
In the pool, Snyder helped her team win three conference championships, earned All-Conference and Towson University Female Rookie of the Year in 2013, scored five individual conference medals, obtained NCAA B-cuts her sophomore, junior, and senior years, and was recognized as a Scholastic All-American Honorable Mention her junior and senior years. Snyder closed out her swimming career by competing in the 2016 USA Olympic Trials in the 400 IM where she placed 69th overall.