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.