Dr. Marc Christian is in his third season with Pitt swimming & diving as an assistant swimming and the program's director of international recruiting and operations.
A doctor of higher education, Christian not only handles the day-to-day operations and travel schedule for Pitt’s approximately 60 swimming & diving student-athletes and recruits elite international athletes, but he also contributes as an assistant coach for the youthful and rapidly improving Panthers.
Christian’s organization and tutelage played a huge role in the Panthers’ progress during the 2017-18 campaign. Pitt swimmers combined to set 20 school records—with the men posting seven all-time Pitt marks and the women besting 13 Panther records, including all five women’s relay records. Also, four athletes represented Pitt at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
In his first campaign with the Panthers in 2016-17, five student-athletes competed for Pitt at the NCAA Championships, including All-Americans Dominic Giordano and Lina Rathsack. As Pitt’s entirely new coaching staff implemented a new training regime, the men's swimming & diving team also posted its highest points total in program history at the 2017 ACC Championships, scoring 513.0 points.
Over the past two years, Christian has helped recruit and develop several international swimmers that have made a big impact at Pitt, including French 400-meter individual medley champion Samy Helmbacher and Israeli 200-meter backstroke winner Shahar Menahem.
Prior to joining head coach John Hargis' staff at Pitt in the summer of 2016, Christian spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at his graduate degree alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with both the men’s and women’s programs.
Christian helped guide the Penn Quakers to one of their most historic seasons in 2015-16, fueled by a program-high six Ivy League titles. The men’s squad tallied the most points in school history (1213.5) at the conference championships. In addition, Chris Swanson swept the Ivy distance events for the second-straight season. Just one month later, Swanson became Penn swimming's first-ever NCAA national champion, winning the 1,650 free. In one of the tightest NCAA finishes ever, Swanson closed his final 50 yards in just 24.38 to defeat South Carolina’s Akaram Mahmoud by .12 of a second. He became the Ivy League's first NCAA champion since 1990.
Additionally at Penn, Christian worked closely with Eric Schultz, a multiple Ivy League champion and two-time NCAA qualifier. Schultz was the Ivy League champion in the 100 and 200 free in 2016, 200 free in 2015 and 50 free in 2014. He posted career-best times of 19.51 in the 50 free, 42.83 in the 100 free and 1:34.80 in the 200 free under Christian’s tutelage. Christian also worked extensive during his time at Penn with U.S. National Team athlete Brendan McHugh and was named U.S. National team coach in 2015 and 2016 for his efforts. Under Christian’s watch, McHugh broke the U.S. Open record in the 50 Breaststroke, qualified for the 2015 World Championship team, achieved a top-10 World Ranking and was a 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials finalist.
“When visiting with Marc over the phone, I could tell the excitement he had for the sport,” Coach Hargis said when Christian accepted a job on his staff at Pitt. “He is an excitable and very driven young man. His outlook for Pitt and where he sees this program moving align well with the goals and philosophy of our program.”
Before going to Penn, Christian served as a graduate assistant swim coach at the University of Delaware. As a member of the Blue Hens staff, he helped coach 25 CAA All-Conference swimmers, four CAA champions and seven NCAA "B" provisional qualifiers. Nine team records and one CAA record were also broken during his time at Delaware.
In his tenure with both Penn and Delaware, Christian worked with more than 29 conference champions and saw more than 110 school records fall.
Christian enjoyed a successful four-year swimming career at Kenyon College. He was a three-time NCAA national qualifier and nine-time All-America honoree. Christian was also member of three NCAA Championships teams and captured five NCAA relay titles. During his senior year, he placed eighth at the NCAA Championships in the 50 free. Additionally, he swam on NCAA champion 200 and 400 free relay teams, which helped Kenyon win its 29th consecutive NCAA Division III team championship.
A native of Rehoboth, Mass., Christian graduated from Kenyon College with degrees in political science and history and was president of the Student-Athlete Association. He received his master's degree in higher education from Penn in the summer of 2012 and also recently earned his doctorate in higher education from Penn’s Graduate School of Education.
Christian and his wife, Melissa, have a newborn son, Connor.