Staff
Head Coach
Matt Leach

Washington State University Director of Athletics Patrick Chun announced July 19 the hiring of Matt Leach as the head coach of the Cougars’ Women’s Swimming program.

Leach joins WSU after spending the previous three years at Indiana State where he started the swimming and diving programs in 2015 and began competing in the 2016-17 season. In the program’s second season, Leach was named the 2017-18 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year after guiding the Sycamores to a 13-win campaign that featured a 10-dual match win streak and a record-setting team performance at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships where ISU set school records in every event, highlighted by the program’s first individual conference champion. Nine Sycamores earned All-MVC honors including a trio of first-team selections.

Out of the pool, Leach saw his team earn CSCAA Scholar All-American honors for the third straight semester, including the highest team GPA in the Missouri Valley Conference. Six student-athletes earned MVC All-Academic honors this past season after five earned the same honor in 2016-17.

Prior to Indiana State, Leach spent six seasons at the University of Wyoming (2009-15), including the final four seasons as associate head coach and worked extensively with sprint swimmers. Leach helped rewrite the Cowgirl record books, as every sprint event school record was broke during his time on staff. He has also coached sprint swimmers to NCAA and Olympic trials competitions including two-time All-America selection Kelsey Conci who earned trips to the NCAA Championships in the 100 backstroke and the 50 and 100 freestyle, placing 10th in the 100 backstroke at the 2011 NCAA Championships and ninth at the 2012 championships.

Leach arrived at Wyoming from Louisiana State University where he began as a graduate assistant in 2004, and then as a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons (2007-09). At LSU, Leach helped guide several athletes to the NCAA Championships, and a top-25 ranking for both the men's and women's teams. Leach also served as the head age group coach at Tiger Aquatics from 2006-09 where he was named the 2007 Louisiana State Age Group Coach of the Year for his efforts in his first season.

A native of Portland, Ore., Leach swam collegiately at Indiana University (2000-04), where he was a was a four-time All-American, helped the Hoosiers to a Big Ten Conference Championship in the 200 medley relay as a senior and still holds school records as a member of the 200 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. Leach also performed on the national stage, as he took part in the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Leach graduated from Indiana in December 2004 with a bachelor's degree in environmental management. He received his master's degree, also in environmental planning and management, from LSU in May 2007.

Assistant Coach
Bex Freebairn

Washington State Women’s Swimming Head Coach Matt Leach announced the hiring of Bex Freebairn Aug. 15, 2018.

Freebairn has worked the past two seasons with Leach at Indiana State where Leach earned 2017-18 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Sycamores to a 13-win campaign and a record-setting team performance at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships. Freebairn helped ISU set school records in every event at the conference championships, highlighted by the program’s first individual conference champion. Nine Sycamores earned All-MVC honors including a trio of first-team selections. Out of the pool, Leach saw the Sycamores earn CSCAA Scholar All-American honors for the third straight semester, including the highest team GPA in the Missouri Valley Conference.

“It is with great honor to be introducing such an amazing person to our staff. Bex Freebairn is someone that brings positive energy, dedicated leadership that reaches beyond the swimming pool and is someone that is hungry to continue to learn and grow,” said Leach. “I have been very lucky to work with Bex previously so I know that she will be a great addition to our already growing staff and team culture. I believe our young program will be able to lean on our staff as we promote family first, academics second and athletics third. Bex was also coached by her father so she knows the demands that come with the job and the expectation that we have here at Washington State. Along with her drive in the water and on the recruiting trail, she is also someone that enjoys athletics of all varieties. It is my honor to welcome Coach Bex Freebairn to the Washington State Family. Welcome aboard and Go Cougs!”

“I am very excited and extremely humbled to be a part of the Cougar family and ready to continue doing what I love in Pullman,” Freebairn said. “I would like to thank Coach Matt for giving me the opportunity, WSU senior woman administrator Anne McCoy for immediately being so welcoming and the rest of the athletic staff at Washington State for bringing me on board. I am excited for the challenge and I am dedicated to helping our Student Athletes be successful. Go Cougs!"

Freebairn holds past coaching and swimming experience in New Zealand where she competed nationally until her sophomore year of college where injuries forced her to stop competing.

Freebairn earned her bachelor’s of sport coaching degree while majoring in strength and conditioning from the University of Canterbury (N.Z.) in 2015. Freebairn earned her masters of coaching at Indiana State this past May.

Director of Operations
Russell Whitaker

Russell is in his second season with WSU swimming as the Director of Operations and also serves as the head club coach for Cougar Aquatics in Pullman.

Prior to coming to Cougar Aquatics, Russ has served in a variety of coaching roles at different levels. To date he has been on staff in some capacity with 3 different club teams, 5 high schools, and 2 university teams. Throughout those coaching roles he has worked with two different national high school coach of the year recipients – as well as with some of the most respected coaches in the swimming community. Russell began his coaching career immediately after he graduated from high school.

He graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2017 with a bachelor’s in physical education. He is currently working on his master’s in athletic administration through Ohio University.