The Denison swimming & diving program has become synonymous with success at the national level and behind that success over the past 31 years has been head coach Gregg Parini.
Since taking over both Denison programs in the fall of 1987, Parini has gone on to build one of the most consistently successful programs in the history of Division III athletics. Under Parini’s watch, his teams have captured five national championships, 16 national runner-up finishes in addition to Denison’s current streak of 62 consecutive top-10 national finishes.
An 11-time NCAA National Coach of the Year, Parini's men's swimming & diving team won its fourth national championship in 2018. Since 2010, Denison's men have won four national titles and have finished second four times.
In 2011, the men's team shocked the swimming & diving world when they snapped Kenyon College’s 31-year streak of national championships. The Big Red ended the streak by rallying from 36 points down on the final day only to win by one point, which was the closest finish in the history of the NCAA swimming & diving championship.
The national championship was the second of Parini’s career. The first came in 2001 when his women’s squad snapped Kenyon’s streak of 17-consecutive national titles in Buffalo, N.Y.
At the conference level, Parini has coached Denison to 20 conference titles and has earned the North Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award, 19 times. DU has produced over 370 All-Americans that have racked up over 2,000 All-American swims. Twenty-six Denison swimmers and divers have been awarded the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and in 2004, former Denison swimmer Darius Grigaliunas swam in the Olympics as a member of the Lithuanian team.
In addition to his success in the coaching ranks, Parini’s career as an educator and Associate Professor at Denison has been equally impressive. In May of 2011, he was honored by the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America as the recipient of the National Collegiate and Scholastic Trophy which is the highest award bestowed by the CSCAA. In 2007 he was awarded the Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award which is given annually to one faculty member who has demonstrated a vibrant interest in the learning process, as well as an understanding of teaching as a continuously evolving art form: someone who embraces the teaching and mentoring of students, not just as a profession, but as a calling.
Parini began his coaching career in 1984 as a volunteer assistant women's coach at Michigan State University where he earned his master’s in counseling psychology. Since then he has held coaching positions for the Upper Arlington Swim Club, Mount Union, and East Lansing High School.
He is a 1982 graduate of Kenyon College where he was a member of Jim Steen’s first national championship team in 1979. A tri-captain for the 1981-82 season, he led the team to its third NCAA crown in as many years. Parini was an 18-time All-American, a seven-time Division III National Champion, and left Kenyon with five national records. He was voted the team’s most valuable swimmer in 1981 and Senior Athlete of the Year in 1982 by the Lords athletic department. In May of 2002, he was inducted into Kenyon College’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
In addition to his coaching efforts, Parini has also made an impact in the community of Granville. He is the founder, owner, and director of The Swimming Clinic, a clinic for age-group swimmers. He is a volunteer Youth Baseball and Hockey coach for both the Granville Recreation Commission and the Newark Ice Hockey Association. He has served as a Youth Group Leader for the Trinity Episcopal Church. Also in Granville, he is the co-founder and co-director of the Red, White and Hoops Basketball Tournament for the Granville Recreation Commission.
Parini is currently a member of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, the American Swimming Coaches Association, United States Swimming and the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. He resides in Granville with his wife, Alice, and is the father of six sons; Joseph, Solomon, Gabe, Andrew, Ted, and Simon.
Some of Parini's most outstanding accomplishments in coaching include:
- 2001 NCAA Division III Women's Swimming and Diving Champions
- 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Swimming & Diving Champions
- 62-straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division III Championships
- Coached over 370 All-Americans to over 2,250 All-American performances
- Coached 26 swimmers who have gone on to earn NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships
- Coached five swimmers to US Olympic Trial Qualifying Performances in 12 events
- Coached one athlete (Darius Grigaliunas) to the Olympic Games in Athens (2004)
- Coached 52 consecutive Denison teams that earned Team All-Academic honors
- Coached 150+ individual All-Academic performers at Denison
- Led Denison's Men's Swimming to NCAC titles in 1997, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.
- Led Denison's Women's Swimming to NCAC titles in 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017.
- 19-time North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming Coach of the Year
- 11-time NCAA Division III Swimming Coach of the Year
Some of his involvement has incorporated activities such as:
- Associate Professor of physical education, teaching exercise physiology, and sports psychology
- Former chair of the Denison Physical Education department.
- Awarded the Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award at the 2007 Denison Academic Awards Convocation
- Facilitator in the University SWOT analysis "Think Tank" in 1999
- Athletic Department Representative for the Board of Trustees Recruiting Panel
- Faculty Representative for the Denison University Judicial Board
- Co-Coordinator of Administrative Policy Review Committee for the Substance Abuse Task Force
- National Coaching Advisor for the Isle of Mauritius
- Meet Director of the 1987 Men's and Women's NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship
- Keynote Speaker at the College Swimming Coaches Association of American Annual Convention, Greater Columbus Swimming Team of Ohio College Night, Central Ohio Swimming Association Annual Awards Banquet, Virginia High School Swimming Coaches Convention, The Total Performance Swimming Camp, Ohio High School Swimming Coaches Convention