Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney Athletics Director Dr. Paul Plinske announced today that former UNK swimmer Rebecca Tidwell is the new head coach of the Aqualopers. The Emporia, Kans., native is just the third head coach in school history, following Joan Bailey (1967-96) and Teresa Osmanski (1997-2016). “Rebecca is a Loper, first and foremost. She has great knowledge of the sport of swimming, is experienced in running a successful business and is driven to create a family culture for the Loper women’s swimming and diving program. Her experience as a former student-athlete, her familiarity with UNK and the Kearney community along with her passion for our University make her an outstanding fit,” said Plinske.
After swimming for Emporia High School, Tidwell came to UNK where she was twice named Academic All-NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference). Currently ranked in UNK’s all-time top 10 in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, she swam on three relay teams (400 and 800 free and 200 medley) that broke school records. “To be the head coach of the women’s swim and dive program at UNK is really something I had only dreamed about. I am honored to have this opportunity and could not be more excited to be back at UNK so soon after being part of the program myself,” said Tidwell. “This position is near and dear to my heart, and I want every young woman who comes to the swim and dive program to have four years of team work, dedication, competition, and most of all, cherished memories of which she can be proud of.”
In her freshman season of 2011-12, UNK competed in the RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). The Aqualopers returned to the RMAC last season as an Associate member. “When we first met, it was evident to me that she had both the tangibles and intangibles needed to lead this program successfully. I couldn’t be more excited to get her started as the third head swimming and diving coach in school history,” said Plinske. “She will bring a smile to the faces of our women’s swimming and diving program. This is a pivotal year as we transition to the Kearney High School pool and work to make strides for improvement in the RMAC.” Graduating with honors from UNK with B.S. degree in Exercise Science, Tidwell most recently was the Director of Personal Training and Manager of Anytime Fitness in Columbus. A certified lifeguard and water safety instructor, she also has given youth swimming lessons in the Kearney area. UNK is set to begin the 2016-17 season this October.