Coaching Staff

Aaron Zander

Head Coach

  • Twitter: @SwimZander
  • Coach Zander's Blog - 10 Years Later
  • Named Head Coach of Men's & Women's Swimming and Diving April 26, 2019
  • Named 2020 Liberal Arts Championships Women's Coach of the Year
  • 2010 graduate of Luther College
  • Prior to taking over as head coach he was the associate director of development at the University of Chicago since 2017
  • He served as head assistant men's and women's swimming coach at Illinois Institute of Technology from 2015-2018
  • He began his career as an elementary teacher while also coaching state championship teams, individual state champions and Olympic trials qualifiers at the Iowa Flyers Swim Club, Iowa City, Iowa (2010-13) and the Ames Cyclones Aquatic Club, Ames, Iowa (2013-14)
  • While at Luther he was a member of four Iowa Conference championship teams and three Liberal Arts Championship teams.
  • He swam on four different relays that claimed five Liberal Arts Championships and seven Iowa Conference titles.
  • He was also crowned an Iowa Conference Champion in the 200 backstroke.

Abby Specht

Assistant Coach

  • 2020-21 will be Abby's second year as an assistant coach
  • Also serves as the assistant Aquatics Director
  • 2014 graduate of UW-River Falls
  • While at UW-River Falls she was a member of the Falcons diving team
  • She has been the diving coach at Rosemont High School (MN) since 2015 and Burnsville High School (MN) since 2017
  • She has also coached at Valley Middle School (2015-17) and Falcon Ridge Middle School (2018)

Dustin Rhoads

Assistant Coach

  • 2014 Univeristy of Iowa Graduate, 2010 graduate of Ames High School
  • 2020-21 campaign will be Dustin's fist year as an assistant coach
  • Previously was an assistant swim coach at Ankeny High School and Ames High School as well as the Girls and Boys Head Tennis Coach and Sports Information Director at Ames High School
  • Helped coach three different State Championship Teams, multiple All-Americans, State Champions, State Meet Records, and School Records
  • Part of 2019 IAHSAA Coaching Staff of the Year and 2015 IGHSAU Coaching Staff of the Year
  • Former University of Iowa Swimmer – 2014 Team MVP and NCAA Championships Qualifier, All – Big Ten Conference, 4 School Records, and Team Captain
  • 2016 and 2012 U.S.A Swimming Olympic Trials Qualifier – 100 Backstroke
  • Iowa High School Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Ames High School Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Former Ames High School Swimmer – 2010 State Swimmer of the Year, three-time State Champion, six-time All-American, 10-time District Champion, and 15-time Conference Champion

Dave Happel

Diving Coach


  • 1961 graduate of Valparaiso University
  • 1964 JD Degree, School of Law, Valparaiso University
  • The 2020-21 campaign will be Dave's 23rd year as diving coach at Luther College.
  • Named Iowa Conference Diving Coach of the Year in 2007
  • Named Liberal Arts Championship Diving Coach of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2020
  • Has coached eight Norse divers who captured 15 conference one-meter championships; seven divers who captured 12 conference three-meter titles; six divers who claimed 16 Liberal Arts championships; four divers who have qualified for NCAA III Regional competition; and eight divers who have posted NCAA III national qualifying standards in both 1-meter and 3-meter events
  • Since 1958 he has been the Head Diving Coach at Vinton Aquatic Club. During his tenure, he has coached three divers who qualified and participated in USA Diving National Jr. Championships. Has also coached eight divers who qualified and participated in USA Diving National West Jr. Spring Championships, as well as numerous divers who have placed and won regional championships
  • While coaching at Porter County YMCA, Valparaiso, Ind., he coached one national champion in Y National Meet held in Iowa City
  • From 1981-87 served as diving coach at Washington High School, Vinton, Iowa
NCAA

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