Former Dragon swimmer Katie Diiro is in her fifth year as a member of the Minnesota State University Moorhead swimming and diving coach staff in 2014-15.
Diiro is the Dragons' lead recruiter and helps coach both the IM and sprint groups. She is also the Dragon Swim School Co-Assistant Director.
Diiro was a member of the MSUM swimming and diving team from 2003-05 and 2006-07. She returned to the Dragon program in 2010 as an assistant coach.
While studying at MSU Moorhead, Diiro received numerous awards including the Dragon Spirit Award twice for the Swimming and Diving team. She is a former school, pool and alumni meet record holder in the 50 freestyle (2005) and former school and pool record holder in the 200 medley, 400 freestyle 200 freestyle and 800 freestyle relays. She also was a multiple-time Female Dragon Athlete of the Week.
Diiro graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2007 from MSUM with a B.A. in Film Studies. In her senior year, Diiro was awarded the sole Academic Achievement Award given to one senior in high academic standing from the Film Studies Department.
Diiro has also displayed her talents as an independent filmmaker, producing over 50 projects, beginning during her time as a student at MSUM. She is currently working on a documentary from her time spent at a clinic in Tanzania, Africa in the summer of 2011.
Prior to arriving at MSUM, Diiro starred at Brainerd High School, where she was the captain of the swimming, hockey and golf teams. She was named the Brainerd Senior High School Female Athlete of the Year in 2002-03 and set multiple school and section records during her career. She was a three-time state meet participant as well.
After finishing college Diiro gained experience in leadership as a Motivational Speaker and Video Technician with Camfel Productions in Los Angeles, Calif. From there Diiro spent two years as assistant coach for the girls’ swim team at Brainerd High School while working at the YMCA as a swim lesson instructor and lifeguard.
Diiro also worked at Lord of Life Lutheran church as a Director of Youth Ministries. Additionally, Diiro’s work at Luther Crest Bible Camp as a counselor for five summers has led her to pursue a graduate degree from MSU Moorhead in School Counseling.
John Schmidt is in his second season as the diving coach for Minnesota State University Moorhead. Schmidt, a native of Stillwater, Minn., was named to the post in June 2013.
Schmidt also serves as Dragon Swim School Co-Supervisor.
Schmidt comes to MSUM with impressive credentials. He has been the diving coach at Concordia-Moorhead for two seasons while also serving as the Diving Coach for the Marlins USS Swim Club starting in Oct. 2009. He also was the high school diving coach for Moorhead High School starting in Sept. 2009.
Schmidt graduated from Stillwater High School, where he was a two-time Minnesota Class AA state champion. He was a three-time all-state selection.
He then went on to compete at the University of Minnesota, where he was a traveling athlete for four years. He also was a team co-captain and placed fourth in the one-meter diving at the Big Ten meet in 2005. Schmidt was also a zone qualifier for four years.
Schmidt is a 2007 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in environmental design and minors in architecture and landscape architecture.
Assistant Swimming and Diving Coach
Kiersten Cooley is in her first season as an assistant coach on the Minnesota State University Moorhead women's swimming and diving staff.
Cooley was a four-year collegiate swimmer at Division I Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She specialized in the butterfly and distance freestyle events and also swam at the Big Ten Championship in her career.
A native of Hershey, Pa., Cooley began swimming at age six and swam for the Hershey Aquatic Club and Hershey High School teams. She qualified for zones, sectionals, junior nationals and was part of a team that won the state championships.
She has continued to swim after her collegiate career was finished and has participated in several triathlons.