Legendary swim coach John Mattos to be added to CSHOF

Bailey Bassett

Long time Colorado State University swim coach John Mattos will now be enshrined forever as a legend of the sport within the state of Colorado. 

Mattos was the CSU women’s swim coach for over three decades, leading the program for 31 total years, the longest tenure ever at CSU. Mattos will now be added to the Colorado Swimming Hall of Fame with a banquet taking place on March 14 at the Cable Center on the University of Denver Campus.


Mattos retired in 2011 as one of the most successful coaches of any program in Rams history.

Current swim coach Christopher Woodard served as an assistant coach for Mattos before taking over as head coach in 2011-12. Woodard has mentioned the impact Mattos has had on the sport across the state and has praised the now CSHOF Hall of Famer for the difficulties that come with running a successful program.

“Now having been in seat, that’s not an easy job,” Woodard said. “That’s very, very difficult, and he did it for a long time with a high degree of success. I think (for) every college program in the state and every opportunity women have in the state, we owe him a great deal of respect and gratitude.”

Mattos was a swimmer for the Rams himself, winning four all-American awards. As a coach, Mattos accumulated a record of 221-113 in dual meets. His women’s teams won a total of six conference titles and produced 95 conference championships between 35 swimmers. His teams also had 38 conference relay titles.

Mattos’ prize prodigy was 1994 50-yard freestyle champion Amy Van Dyken, who later went on to win six Olympic gold medals. That 1994 team finished 12th in the nation, CSU’s best finish ever. Mattos was even named coach of the year during that season. 

The legendary coach, who was known for his brilliance in recruiting as well as his ability to connect with his players, was also a vital part in the creation of CSU’s water polo team.

This accolade is one of many for Mattos, who was also inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2019 and a member of the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame and is one of three inductees in the 2020 CSHOF class. The latter ceremony will take place on March 14 in the Cable Center at the University of Denver with fellow swimming legends Missy Franklin and Clark Smith.

The Rams swim program is in the midst of a three-meet winning streak under coach Woodard, who was an assistant under Mattos.

Mattos’ impact is extensive, and this award is well deserved for the great coach who will now forever be remembered as a CSHOF member. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story falsely stated the Mattos was added to the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame, Mattos has been a member of the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame since 2005. Mattos was announced as a member of the 2020 class of the Colorado Swimming Hall of Fame. 


Bailey Bassett can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @baileybassett_.