Hopkins ‘16 cap­tained the Hillsdale College swim team during her junior and senior year. (Photo: Zoe Hopkins / LinkedIn)

Zoe Hopkins — a 2016 alumna holding three of Hillsdale’s top 10 swim times — returned to Hillsdale on Jan. 23 to serve as assistant women’s swimming coach and assistant sports infor­mation director. 

Hillsdale formed Hopkin’s assistant coaching position after a retirement restruc­tured the swimming department. Head swim coach Kurt Kirner inter­viewed Hopkins during winter break, offering Hopkins the position on Dec. 23.  

“I said yes right away — this is my dream job. I wanted to start the 15th, but I had to finish work,” Hopkins said. “My favorite thing about Hillsdale is the atmos­phere. For me, Hillsdale feels like home”. 

Hopkins will assist in planning prac­tices, team nutrition, com­piling GPAs, and recruiting new swimmers. Hopkins’ time will be divided between assisting coach Kirner, as well as putting together infor­mation packets for recruits. 

In addition to these duties at the pool, Hopkins will work with Assistant Ath­letic Director for Media Rela­tions Brad Monas­tiere as the assistant sports infor­mation director. 

Monas­tiere described Hopkins as a “home-run hire”. 

“Zoe’s position will grow and evolve over time. She will improve our social media across the board, and will help both pro­grams from day one,” Monas­tiere said. “She has a good grasp of my respon­si­bil­ities. She picks things up quickly, and is able to adapt on the fly extremely well.”

Kirner expounded upon why Hopkins stood out from the crowd. 

“She was a two-time captain, and had worked with me at Michigan swim camps which I worked with during the summer,” Kirner said. “She has a vast amount of expe­rience for a swimmer because she spent a lot of time on deck here during the off­season and coaching.”

Hopkins served as team captain her junior and senior years. She holds the program’s records in the 1000 free (10:18.52) and 1650 free (17:18.95), and was named Scholar All-American by the College Swimming and Diving Asso­ci­ation in 2015 and 2016, earning Aca­demic All-GLIAC three of her four year college swim career. 

Hopkins grad­uated with a degree in sports man­agement, and then worked as YMCA’s director of com­pet­itive swimming for ages 5 through 18 in Tra­verse City, Michigan. 

Hopkins started swimming year-round at 4 years old, and began a travel club swimming at age 8. Hopkins swam for Tem­perance Bedford High School and her sights set on Hillsdale.

“I only applied to Hillsdale,” Hopkins said. “I’ve wanted to come here since high school.”

As grad­u­ation approached, Hopkins knew her departure would be dif­ficult. 

“Before I grad­uated, I went to Kirner and asked, ‘How can I stay at Hillsdale? I would love to work here.’”

Although there were no open posi­tions available upon grad­u­ation, Hopkins said that she knew Hillsdale was the right place for her — with its quirks and all. 

“I’m excited to recruit ath­letes, to grow the team, and the program,” Hopkins said.