Jay Spencer returns to head swim coach position


Jay Spencer has taken over as head swim coach. Photo by Erick Sun ’24.

A coaching change is returning a veteran to lead Hill’s swim team. Amy Agnew P’11 will become the lead assistant coach during the 2021-22 swim season, as Jay Spencer ’84 P’13 ’14 ’18 ’23 will return to the head coach role. 

From 2010 to 2016, Spencer was the head coach of Hill swimming. After graduating from Hill in 1984, Spencer returned to Hill to teach in 2009 after many years serving the U.S. Navy. He was an assistant coach during the 2009-10 season and became the head coach of the program in the 2010-11 season. 

During Spencer’s six years as the head coach of the girls and boys swim teams, he prioritized recruiting and training for Easterns, the culminating meet at the end of the winter swim season. This approach worked well, as previously held records were broken and a new era of Hill swimming emerged. 

Spencer left Hill for three years after the 2016 season to become a head of school in Alabama, but he “missed daily teaching interaction with teen students, and especially coaching.” After working at Kent for a year, he returned to campus in 2019 and worked as an assistant coach for the Hill swim team. This swim season, which has been shifted to the spring, Agnew will continue to write practices and coach on deck, while Spencer will work on the administrative side to manage big-picture strategies and meets.

In the summers of 2011 through 2016, Spencer also worked as the head coach for North End Swim Club. When he interviewed for the job at North End, he was taking over the position previously held by Agnew. So, when Spencer was leaving Hill six years later, he thought Agnew would be a great candidate to hand the team off to. Agnew applied to become an English teacher and the head swim coach at Hill and has been working in both of these roles for the past three years. Spencer and Agnew worked together for the first time last year, and they share similar goals for the program. 

This time around, Spencer is planning to implement some of these same strategies from years past to help build the team up to a full junior varsity and varsity roster. He is already starting to recruit prospective students to “build up The Hill’s swim team once again, in both interest and talent.” A major goal that has been continued since Spencer’s first season as the head coach is to integrate the boys and girls swim teams, as well as the diving and swim teams. Similarly, his long- and short-term goals for the team are centered around overall success at Easterns. Spencer is excited to be working on deck again and is emphasizing the mental aspect of swimming, not only physical preparedness.