Chris Cruise, Coach of Iowa’s Winningest High School Swim Team, Retires

Chris Cruise has retired as the head boys’ swimming coach at Cedar Rapids – Washington High School in Iowa. In 23 years as a coach, and previously four as an athlete, Cruise has been a part of Iowa’s most dominant high school program in multiple capacities.

He will remain at the school as assistant activities director and a half-time math instructor. Cruise says that his new duties as assistant activities director limited the time he had available to coach swimming.

He is one of just 3 coaches to have led the program over the last 65 years, following Hal Krizan (1956-1973) and Jim Voss (1973-1998).

As an athlete at Washington, Cruise was a part of state championship teams in 1987, 1988, and 1989. He was a two-time state champion individually and was on two title-winning relays as an athlete before taking over as coach. Those three team titles are part of 27 state team titles in program history, more than any other boys program in the state.

Perhaps the most stunning stat of Washington’s dynastic status in Iowa High School swimming is that they won 53-straight district championships until having the streak snapped in 2017.

As a coach, Cruise added to the program’s legacy by leading them to a State Championship in 2008.

In 2021, which turned out to be Cruise’s final meet leading the team, Cedar Rapids – Washington finished in 12th place.

Recent indivudal standouts of note include 2016 200 and 500 free state champion Cameron Kelley, 2013 500 free state champion Josh Hughes, 2016 100 back state champion Nick Saulnier, and 2015 100 fly state champion Jared Thorson.