Jacob and Meghan Ayers: Men's and Women's Swimming Head Coaches

Photo by McKenzie Gallagher

August 31, 2017
How long have you been involved in swimming?
Jacob Ayers: “I came [to Wheaton] to swim in college, swam for Jon Lederhouse for four years, I graduated in ’97 and I’ve been coaching young swimmers and high school swimmers ever since.”
Meghan Ayers: “I went to the College of Charleston in S.C., swam there for two and a half years and then transferred to the University of Illinois Chicago and swam there as well. I went to grad school here at Wheaton for education, got my masters and then as soon as I finished that program I started coaching with Jon Lederhouse.”
What is the most important part of your job?
JA: “We’re hired to do a few things: we’re here to mentor athletes in an athletic setting…if we’re not doing that we’re not accomplishing our goals.”
MA: “[Helping athletes] grow in Christ through swimming.”
Why were you interested in working at Wheaton?
MA: “It’s great that our faith can be at the forefront of what we’re doing. ”
Do you have a team verse or passage?
JA: “Psalm 37:5… It says ‘commit your way to the LORD and he will do this.’”
What are your goals as coaches?
JA: “Every year we hope to be in the hunt for a CCIW championship. The program has a history of being competitive at that level. Every year we want to qualify swimmers for NCAA championships…Ultimately we’d like to get the team to the level where they’re finishing top 10 at [the] NCAA meet.”
MA: “Making people faster at swimming. Some come in and could be in the hunt for a national championship. Some people are newer to the sport or grew up in the sport but aren’t going to qualify for nationals. We still want them to get faster.”   
What is it like succeeding coach Lederhouse?
JA: “The alumni think of Wheaton swimming and Jon Lederhouse as synonymous, and that’s our job to stamp our name on its history.”
MA: “We were both mentored by Jon. I worked with him, Jake worked in the office next to him for 20 years. He devoted 41 years to a program, and he’d probably be mad at me for saying this, but I don’t want to let him down.”
What is it like coaching together as husband and wife?
JA: “We’re about to find out!”
MA: “What makes a good marriage is people that complement each other. Our coaching styles do that as well.”
JA: It’s great having different personalities that different swimmers can click with more easily.”
MA: “I think Jake is a little more administratively minded. He’s also the aquatics director here, so he runs the pool and that sort of thing. I can be a little bit louder, and he can be more subtle in certain situations. I think we balance each other in that sense.”
JA: “Meghan has a really good sense of what’s going on behind the scenes. If somebody’s really struggling with something or doesn’t seem quite right, she has intuition. She’s also personable.  the entire team lights up when coach Meghan walks into the room.”

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