116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Not many understand the storied history of Cedar Rapids Washington boys’ swimming better than Matt Sinnott.
A former Warrior swimmer and longtime assistant coach, Sinnott has taken the lead of a program that has only had three others before him since its inception in 1956.
When Chris Cruise stepped aside last spring after leading the team since 1998, Sinnott was named the fourth coach in program history. He follows IHSAA Hall of Famers Cruise (1998-2021), Jim Voss (1973-1998) and Hal Krizan (1956-1973).
Sinnott, who swam on Cruise's first four teams at Washington, knows the legacy of his predecessors, reflected in the school's 27 state team championships, along with the numerous individual and relay titles.
“It is an honor having this opportunity to lead our historic program,” Sinnott said. “Not many programs can say they have had only four head coaches (over 65 years).
“For me, I am excited about our program. I get to coach the sport I love at the place I call home and I get to work hard with swimmers and coaches who want to find ways to improve and have fun.”
Cruise, who remains Washington assistant activities director, believes it will be a seamless transition for the Warriors.
“Matt brings a wealth of experience to the program,” Cruise said. “He not only knows and values the traditions of our program, having seen them both as a coach and as an athlete but he also was a competitive swimmer at the collegiate level, as well.
“I am excited to see what he will do with this opportunity. Frankly, it made my decision to step down much easier, knowing that Matt was ready to take over the program.”
After his prep career at Washington, Sinnott was a standout at Coe, holding three school records and being named all-Iowa Conference 13 times.
He returned to Wash as a volunteer assistant during his senior year at Coe and held various positions on the boys’ and girls’ staffs until becoming the varsity boys’ assistant in 2017.
Now as he begins his first season as head coach, Sinnott's goals, not surprisingly, align with those developed by Krizan, Voss and Cruise.
“The foundation of this program is the desire to succeed beyond expectations,” he said. “I am looking for student-athletes and coaches that are willing to dedicate themselves to self, teammates and swimming. Along with dedication, I am looking for student-athletes to be academically, socially and athletically disciplined.”
Cruise said Sinnott is well-prepared to help his swimmers attain these goals.
“One of the things that I have always respected about Matt is that everything he does comes from his heart,” Cruise said. “His passion for working with young people manifests itself every day in his teaching role at Wilkins (Elementary School), as well as his role as head coach at (Washington). When he was younger, Matt was no less passionate about (Washington) swimming than he is today.”
Sinnott knows the role being a Washington swimmer played in his life. He simply wants the same for those now in the program.
“I value the importance of developing great swimmers and great individuals,” he said. “With these three criteria, I believe an individual can be successful in the pool and throughout life.
“The Warrior swimming program has provided me and many other Warriors before me and after me with tools to be successful and we will continue the tradition.”