York College hires new leader for its swimming programs

Birkir Jonsson

York College has a new leader for its NCAA Division III swimming programs.

Paul Saikia, the Spartans' assistant dean for athletics and recreation, has announced that Birkir Jonsson has been named the school's new head swimming coach and aquatics director.

Jonsson spent the last year as the head senior gold coach at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retriever Aquatics program. He was also on staff for the UMBC Retriever varsity men's and women's swim programs, which compete at the NCAA Division I level. Jonsson was in charge of all Retriever club coaches while he also assisted the aquatics director in the daily operations of the UMBC facility.

"We feel that men's and women's swimming has a high ceiling at York College and that Coach Jonsson is someone who can build on our accomplishments and take both teams to the next level," Saikia said in a news release. "He has a strong understanding of what it will take and he is enthusiastic about the challenge. We see him as an excellent fit for our program and our department."

Before his UMBC stint, Jonsson spent the 2018-19 academic year on the coaching staff at Texas Christian University, another D-I program. He was the recruiting coordinator and was in charge of international recruiting as well as domestic recruiting in the eastern time zone. He helped the Horned Frogs program finish third on the men's side and fourth in the women's competition at the Big 12 Championships in Austin, Texas.

Jonsson graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in communications along with minors in marketing and management. He swam for the D-I Monarchs for two years after spending his first two years at the University of New Orleans.

After his time at ODU, Jonsson spent six years as an assistant coach at George Washington University. During his time at D-I George Washington, the Colonials set 102 school records to go along with 20 Atlantic 10 first-team finishers and 12 runner-up finishers. He also earned his master's degree in sport management during his time at GW.

"The goal is to help the program to the next level both within our own conference as well as nationally," Jonsson said in the news release.

Last year, York finished second in the Middle Atlantic Conference on the men's side in an abbreviated 2021 campaign, while the women placed fifth in the conference.

Jonsson, who replaces Eric Rasmussen as the head coach, will begin his York College duties in mid-July.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. York College provided information for this report.