Jill Sterkel

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Jill Sterkel
Personal information
Full nameJill Ann Sterkel
National teamUnited States
Born (1961-05-27) May 27, 1961 (age 58)
Hacienda Heights, California
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg)
College teamUniversity of Texas

Jill Ann Sterkel (born May 27, 1961) is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder. Sterkel won four medals in three Olympic Games spanning twelve years. She was the women's head coach of the Texas Longhorns swimming and diving team at the University of Texas at Austin from 1992 to 2007.


Sterkel was born in Hacienda Heights, California. She graduated from Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights. She subsequently attended the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where she swam for the Texas Longhorns swimming and diving team in Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1980 to 1983.[1] As a senior in 1983, Sterkel won the NCAA national championships in 50-yard butterfly (24.26 seconds) and 100-yard butterfly (53.54 seconds).[2] She won back-to-back Honda Sports Awards for Swimming and Diving, recognizing her as the outstanding college female swimmer of 1979–80 and 1980–81.[3]

Sterkel represented the United States in three Summer Olympics. As a 15-year-old at the 1976 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay, together with her teammates Kim Peyton, Wendy Boglioli and Shirley Babashoff. After the U.S. women's team had been outshone in nearly every event by their East German rivals, Peyton, Boglioli, Sterkel and Babashoff achieved a moral victory by not only winning the relay gold medal, but also by breaking the East Germans' world record in the event final. Individually, she competed in two other events, finishing seventh in the 100-meter freestyle and not advancing beyond the preliminary heats in the 200-meter freestyle.[4]

Sterkel qualified again for the U.S. national team at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials, but because of the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, she was unable to participate at the 1980 games held in Moscow, Russia.

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she swam for the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the women's 4×100-meter freestyle.[4] Starting at the 1984 games, relay swimmers who swam in the heats, but did not compete in the event finals, were eligible to receive medals. As a 27-year-old at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, she again swam for the U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and earned a bronze medal for the team's third-place finish. She also competed individually in the 50-meter freestyle, tying for third and earning a bronze medal.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ TexasSports.com, Women's Swimming & Diving, Co-Head Coach Jill Sterkel. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  2. ^ HickokSports.com, Sports History, NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Champions Archived December 6, 2012, at Archive.today. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Collegiate Women Sports Awards, Past Honda Sports Award Winners for Swimming & Diving. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Sports-Reference.com, Olympic Sports, Athletes, Jill Sterkel Archived January 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 24, 2012.


  • De George, Matthew, Pooling Talent: Swimming's Greatest Teams, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland (2014). ISBN 978-1-4422-3701-8.

External links[edit]

Preceded by

Kelly Asplund
Women's 50-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

April 10, 1980 – January 29, 1983
Succeeded by

Dara Torres