Samantha Pitter enters her seventh season with the Harvard men’s swimming and diving program, which strives for excellence both nationally and against Ivy League opponents, as well as in the classroom.
Guiding the Crimson to a 53-4 overall record, including 39-1 Ivy League mark and four Ivy titles, Pitter has brought in strong recruiting classes which were ranked amongst the top-20 in the nation for swimming and diving.
Additionally, Pitter has seen the program grow both against Ivy League competition and on the national stage. At the 2016-17 Ivy League Championship Meet, Harvard dominated, winning by 370 points, the widest margin of victory since the Crimson’s 409-point win in 1999. A year later, Harvard claimed its 25th Ivy crown and climbed into the national rankings at No. 24 in 2017-18, only to capture its third straight conference crown in 2018-19.
Harvard continued its rise on the national stage, improving its team score and place at the NCAA Championships the last two seasons. For the first time in 12 years, the Crimson placed in the top-20, finishing the 2018 NCAA meet in 18th place, tallying 58 points. Dean Farris ’20 earned All-America first-team honors in the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke for the second time in his career, while distance swimmers Brennan Novak ’19 and Logan Houck ’20 each recorded All-America honorable mention marks in the 500-yard freestyle.
Twelve months later at the 2019 NCAA meet, Harvard finished in eighth place (132 points), which was also the Ivy League's top performance in 50 years. En route to its best NCAA finish since 1960-61, Harvard was led by Farris, who won a national title in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle, becoming the first Crimson swimmer to win at least two events at the NCAA meet since 1954. Farris also set the American and NCAA record in the 200-yard freestyle when he opened the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:29.15.
In her years at Harvard, Pitter has recruited, coached, and developed two All-America first team selections (Farris, Novak), along with two All-America relays (2019: 200 free, 800 free). She has also mentored four individual All-America honorable mention performers (Farris, Logan Houck '19, Mike Mosca '15, Novak) and seven honorable mention relays. Pitter additionally has coached a total of 82 All-Ivy selections, including 52 first-team picks as well as back-to-back-to-back Phil Moriarty High Point Swimmers of the Year (Farris in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19, and Novak in 2017-18 and 2018-19).
Outside of Blodgett Pool, Harvard has excelled in the classroom boasting the top GPA in the nation each of the past three years as well as a pair of Academic All-District recipients (Farris, Mosca), and one Academic All-America selection (Mosca). Additionally, 42 of her swimmers and divers earned CSCAA Scholar All-America recognition and five have been Ivy League All-Academic Team selections.
Prior to coming to Harvard, Pitter spent five years coaching men’s and women’s swimming and diving at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she brought the Engineers unprecedented levels of success.
Serving as an assistant coach for first four years at MIT, Pitter helped lead both programs to three consecutive NEWMAC Championships, while guiding the men to four consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division III Championships. She spent her fifth season as the Acting Head Coach while Dawn Dill was on maternity leave in 2012-13. As the Acting Head Coach, Pitter led the Engineers to their best ever NCAA finishes: third place for the men and eighth place for the women. Over the course of the 2012-13 season, the women went on to break 12 school records and the men re-wrote 21 of 24 school records, which included three NCAA event titles and one NCAA record. She was named NEWMAC Women's Coach of the Year for the squad's performance at the NEWMAC Championships.
At the 2013 World Championship Trials, Pitter's athlete placed top eight in the 50-meter butterfly, and reached the finals in the 50-meter freestyle. In 2012, Pitter guided MIT's first ever Olympic Trials qualifier to a 21st-place finish in the 50 free in Omaha, Neb.
A 2007 graduate of Hamilton College, Pitter was an accomplished swimmer. She was a four-time All-America sprinter, school-record holder, team captain and NESCAC All-Academic recipient during her four years. She graduated from Hamilton Cum Laude with a double major in Economics and Communication.
In 2011, Pitter completed her Master's of Education in Physical Education Specializing in Coaching, from Boston University. She has coached masters swimmers at both Boston University and here at Harvard with Cambridge Masters Swim Club.