Saunders joins swim and dive coaching staff

By Matt Tedino Army Athletic Communications

 Army West Point head swimming and diving coach Brandt Nigro announced the addition of Christa Saunders to his staff July 1.  Photos by Army Athletic Communications

Army West Point head swimming and diving coach Brandt Nigro announced the addition of Christa Saunders to his staff July 1.
“I’m beyond excited to have Christa join our swim and dive program here at Army West Point,” Nigro said. “She is a great coach, an awesome mentor and really takes the time to get to know her athletes. She is one of the top up and coming young coaches in college swimming right now and we are very lucky to have her with us.
“I had the privilege of getting to know Christa over the last few years while coaching at N.C. State. Each summer, she would work our swim camps and spend time on deck with our staff as we coached our college and pro athletes. I was always impressed by her knowledge and understanding of the sport, but more importantly for the passion and excitement she brought on deck each day. Army West Point swimming and diving has exciting days ahead and I know we will be even better with Christa on board.”
Saunders arrives at West Point following a one-year stint as an assistant coach at East Carolina. She will serve as an assistant coach with the Black Knights and carry the role of women’s recruiting coordinator.
In her lone year with the Pirates, she helped the men’s team capture the 2020 American Athletic Conference (AAC) title. ECU won five individual conference events and four relay championships en route to claiming the team title with 18 athletes earning all-conference accolades in one or more event.
Three athletes qualified for the NCAA Championship meet and received All-America honors with her assistance. In Saunders primary group that she worked with, there was one men’s AAC champion and seven total AAC podium finishers.
Prior to her time with the Pirates, Saunders spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the  University of Connecticut. While in Storrs, Connecticut, she helped the Huskies post 395 personal best times, 26 NCAA ‘B’ qualifying marks and 27 school records in addition to registering 149 top-10 all-time performances and four AAC Championship event victories.
Before joining the UConn coaching staff, Saunders served as a graduate assistant for two years at Gardner-Webb. She helped coach the Bulldogs’ first male NCAA qualifier in three events who additionally was named the 2016 Elite 90 Award winner.
During her time in Boiling Springs, N.C., the Bulldogs had 12 individual Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) champions and posted 11 NCAA ‘B’cuts with 370 personal best marks to go along with 38 school records.
Saunders was a two-year letterman at William & Mary before she suffered a career-ending shoulder injury and served as a student assistant coach for her final two seasons (2013-15), while obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.
The Tribe won the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) men’s championship in 2015 after ending UNCW’s 13-year championship run.
The William & Mary women placed third in both 2014 and 2015. The Tribe posted 45 school records, five CAA Championship records and 45 NCAA ‘B’ qualifying times during Saunders time in Williamsburg, Virginia.