Andrew Bretscher was named the newest head coach of the VMI swimming and diving programs on July 27, 2017.
Bretscher entered his role at VMI just before the start of the Keydets' first year in the America East Conference and presided over the transition well. The new head coach's first year saw John Kim earn top-five finishes in both the 100 and 200 back at the conference championships, while the Keydets also hosted their first home meet since January of 2015. VMI also earned a dual win over Mount St. Mary's early in the season, a season that saw 11 women's varsity and three men's varsity records fall.
In his second year, Bretscher led the Keydet swimming and diving teams to outstanding seasons, both in and out of the pool. The team set 25 program records (15 men, 10 women), representing more than half of the all-time records kept. Two top Bretscher freshman recruits, Stephen Hopta and Sophie Svoboda, combined to set or be a part of 17 new top marks. In an article from swimswam.com, the VMI men were the second-most improved team in Division 1 in 2018-19, while the women were #3. Both squads were named Scholar All-America teams by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association (CSCAA).
Bretscher came to VMI following three seasons as the head coach of both the men's and women's programs at Norwich University. There, he led his teams to 18 new school records and, in his final season, he mentored the Norwich men's program to a second place finish at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association Championships (NEISDA). That was the highest finish for the team since 2000, while the women's team's 12th-place result was the highest since 2001. Both teams earned College Swimming Coaches Association Scholar All-American honors following the 2017 campaign.
Prior to 2016-17, Bretscher had built the women's program from having zero members to over 15 in just one season and taken the Norwich men's team to three straight titles in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) from 2014-2016. The women's team finished third in the league in 2016, its highest finish in over 15 years.
Bretscher came to Norwich following a three-year stint as a graduate assistant at Frostburg State, while also working on his master's degree. He helped the FSU programs to what, at the time, were their highest point totals since joining the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC), and earned the 2014 Jean Freeman Scholarship from the College Swimming Coaches Association while at FSU.
“It's a very exciting time for VMI swimming and diving," said VMI athletics director Dr. Dave Diles at the time of hiring. "Coach Bretscher has an incredible background. As a former U.S. Olympic Trials, World Championship Trials and NCAA All-American athlete during his time as a collegiate swimmer, Andrew brings exceptional technical knowledge and training expertise to this position. However, and equally important, Coach Bretscher has three years of head coaching experience leading both a men's and a women's team with a record of competitive advancement that resulted in unprecedented levels of success in the pool. His time at Norwich University, working with cadet athletes in a military setting, will be invaluable as he transitions to VMI.”
Bretscher graduated from The Ohio State University in June 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. As a member of the varsity swim team, Bretscher earned NCAA All-American honors three times and was named an All-Big Ten Second Team honoree. He competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, the 2009 World Championship trails and three straight U.S. National Championships (2007-2009).
At one time, he held OSU school records in the 100 butterfly, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
Prior to Ohio State, Bretscher was a member of the 2007 Auburn University National Champion squad as a freshman.