LHS head swimming and diving coach Tom Hudson finds talent in his physical education class and turns students into competitive swimmers


LARAMIE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) – The name Tom Hudson has become synonymous with excellence over the past three decades.

“I feel very lucky that we have a coach like Coach Hudson,” Laramie athletic director Ron Wagner said. “Not just because he puts a lot of banners on the wall obviously, but at the same time he’s really great for kids.”

High school swimming and diving coach Laramie has won 19 state team championships (12 boys, 7 girls), won over 800 doubles matches and was named the coach of the year of the year since Wyoming took over the boys and girls programs in 1991 and 1992.

The Sheridan native’s resume speaks for itself, but one of the most impressive things he does is complete his other job as a swimming teacher in the physical education department at LHS.

“If I see a student in the pool in my PE class and he just has, I can just feel a natural ability, maybe he’s really comfortable in the water, his position body is good, it shakes very well and I can just see fitness and if I see that I will definitely talk to them, ask them what sports they play, what sports they like, and when I hear they don’t. don’t play sports, i get a little excited and then i think ‘you know what you should try swimming i think you could be pretty good at it,’ ”said Hudson.

Hudson’s educational career began as a student teacher under the guidance of legendary Laramie head coach Layne Kopischka. Then, in 1992, Hudson became a full-time teacher and started recruiting into his class, as Coach Kopischka did.

Many of the kids Husdon successfully recruited went on to do amazing things in the pool, including being state tag team champions.

However, one of Hudson’s most impressive moments was coaching Slade Schaeffer who didn’t swim until high school and became Individual State Champion (100 backstroke), school record holder (200 free) and Division I swimmer at the University of Wyoming.

“I think Tom has sort of a unique talent for identifying something about any athlete at any given level and being able to take them to the next level,” said Slade Shaeffer, 2014 LHS graduate. .

While Slade is a shining example of how Hudson developed someone in the pool, others like current senior swimmer Kayley Yother have stories of how he’s helped them in life.

“He’s been there for me as well,” Yother said. “I’ve had family stuff here and there and he’s always been really willing to understand and love to help me get through that.”

Another person who influenced Hudson is Elizabeth “Biz” Winarski. She was a 1997 graduate of Laramie High School and was a member of Hudson’s first State Championship victory in 1993.

“He cares about every child who steps onto that pool deck and he cares not only about their success as a swimmer, but also about their success in their personal life, their college life and their family,” said Warnarski.

Hudson said it was in the twilight of his career and after each boys’ swimming season he and his wife were debating whether or not to stay a coach and teacher or retire. He said the plan is to continue for the time being, but of course one day he will retire and he hopes he left his swimmers with the following feeling:

“I like to feel like they’ve been a part of something bigger than them and they’re proud of it and that’s to me what my greatest accomplishments can be is that they have felt like they were part of something special if they ‘I was Laramie Plainsmen or Lady Plainsmen,’ said Hudson.

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