Jessica Coats signs to swim for Division 1 Wagner College

Scott Swanson

Jessica Coats signed a letter of intent Tuesday, May 9, to swim for Wagner College in New York.

Coats has swum for four years at Sweet Home, placing seven times in the top three as an individual at the state meet and winning the state title in the 100 backstroke this year after multiple runner-up finishes. She also was a critical part of numerous relay state champion teams.

Coats said she chose Wagner, a Division I program on Staten Island, N.Y., because of its location and the fit.

“I really like the team and the coach,” she said. “He’s very personable. It’s a small campus and the teacher-student ratio is like one to 13. It’s a small school. I’m really excited.”

Coats signed the letter of intent flanked by her parents, Joseph and Susan Couch, and sister Samantha Coats.

Her club coach, Rick Guenther of the Corvallis Aquatic Team, said Coats has shown “commitment in coming to Corvallis every day” to swim. Coats has been swimming with the Corvallis team for a year, he said.

“She’s been an awesome addition to our squad. It’s been exciting watching her become more excited about her swimming,” Guenther said. “We’ve loved having her there. We’ll miss having her on the team. Now she gets to swim at a university, which is pretty cool.”

Coats is the second senior from the girls swim team that has won two consecutive state titles, the second by a wide margin, to sign with a Division I school. Lucie Davis committed earlier this year to swim at Boise State.

Coats said she plans to major in education, with a goal of becoming an elementary teacher.

She said that is one of the reasons why she likes the location at Wagner.

“The school’s in Staten Island, so I’d have a 30-minute ferry and bus ride into the city and they have a really great relationship with all the schools in New York City, so I could do a wide variety of learning outside the classroom. I really like that.”

Coats said she’s happy to have made the decision.

“I’m excited to be done with the wondering,” she said. “It’s really nice to finally be committed, to know what I want to do with my future.”