On February, 1, 2012, UNC Asheville Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone named Elizabeth Lykins as the Bulldogs' women's swimming coach.
Lykins came to Asheville from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla., where she served as an assistant coach for the past five seasons. She revived a Bulldog swimming program that last competed from 1972-1976.
She has done an incredible job in just two years and is poised to make the Bulldog program one of the best in the region.
Her first year at Asheville proved to be a smashing success. Despite only having eight swimmers on her roster, the Bulldogs managed to get three dual meet wins. They then finished in ninth place at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) Championship. The Bulldogs finished in front of four others schools with eight swimmers.
Last season saw more achievement. With another small roster, Asheville managed to have a winning record in dual meets with a 6-5 record beating established programs like Radford, VMI, North Carolina A&T and Lenoir-Rhyne. The Bulldogs finished 10th at the CCSA Championships as they finished in front of three other schools with a lot more depth than Asheville. Lykins’ team set numerous school records throughout the season.
Her teams have done the job in the classroom each season. The College Swimming Coaches Association of America have recognized Asheville as a Scholar All-American team for four consecutive semesters.
"We are delighted to introduce Elizabeth Lykins as the new coach of our women's swimming program," stated Cone upon Lykins hiring. "There has been a great deal of interest in our swimming program since we announced that we were bringing the program back. Elizabeth is the right person at the right time for our program.
"She has been a part of a very successful program at Florida Gulf Coast," added Cone. "We believe Elizabeth will fit in perfectly with our mission at UNC Asheville that promotes "Champions in Athletics, Leaders in Life."
"I am very excited for Elizabeth, and I think this is a great position for her," said FGCU head coach Neal Studd. "UNC Asheville is very lucky to have her, and I know she will be very successful there!"
"I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be the head coach of UNC Asheville Women's Swimming," declared Lykins. "I can't think of a better place to start my career as a head coach than this school and in this wonderful city.”
The College of Charleston graduate brought a great deal of experience to her new post. She spent the prior five years helping building a championship program for Florida Gulf Coast.
In 2010-11, Lykins helped the Eagles win their third consecutive Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) Championship, winning by more than 250 points. FGCU also earned Most Outstanding Diver and Diver of the Year as well as Co-Most Outstanding Freshman of the Year, while Studd was voted Coach of the Year. Under her watch, 13 athletes earned All-Conference status and the team set eight varsity records. Lykins also assisted with coordinating the academics of the student-athletes and saw the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) name FGCU a Scholar All-American Team after posting a 3.29 grade-point average (GPA).
Lykins helped guide FGCU to its second consecutive CCSA Championship in 2010. The Eagles also had the Most Outstanding Diver and Studd won Co-Coach of the Year. Lykins assisted in leading the team that was once again recognized as a Scholar All-American Team by the CSCAA for the third year after posting a combined GPA of 3.35.
In Lykins' second year with the Eagles, she helped lead the team to the program's first CCSA Conference Championship. The Eagles also brought home every possible piece of hardware from the CCSA Conference meet. The Eagles ran away with the CCSA team title by over 200 points. The Eagles also produced the Rookie Swimmer of the year as well as the Conference Swimmer and Conference Diver of the Year.
During Lykins' first year at FGCU, she helped lead the team to a second place conference finish at the CCSA Championship. The Eagles earned Rookie Swimmer of the Year and Conference Swimmer of the Year during their inaugural season.
Lykins came to FGCU with five years' experience as a Division I Assistant at Colgate and Georgia Southern. In June 2007, Lykins completed her third season as an assistant coach for the men's and women's swimming teams at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. During her first two years, Lykins' primary responsibilities included coaching the distance swimmers. Her athletes posted 63 personal records, earned eight conference event titles and set 13 freshman school records. Her third year of tenure, Lykins coached the middle distance team. This squad recorded 107 personal records for the year, one freshman relay record, one individual varsity record and two varsity relay records. For all three years, she coordinated travel and assisted with the publication of the program's alumni newsletter, the Webfoot Wave.
Lykins joined the Colgate staff after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. During her time in South Georgia the team successfully compiled three individual conference event titles, six All-Conference team members, one female swimmer of the championship meet and two top three team finishes within the conference.
Before returning to graduate school, Lykins resided in Telluride, Colo. She was an income auditor and financial reporter for the Telluride Ski & Golf Company while also being the head coach of the Telluride Torpedoes swimming team for four seasons. Lykins is a 1998 graduate of the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration after being a member of the athletic honor roll all four years. A four-year member of the swim team, Lykins was a captain for two seasons and was named women's team MVP in 1998.
Lykins received her master's degree in Sports Management from Georgia Southern University in May 2004.