Heather Olson served as the head coach of the Stanford synchronized swimming team from 2001-2012 (11 seasons).
A former synchronized swimmer for the Cardinal, Olson graduated from Stanford in 1999 with a B.A. in English. As both a student-athlete and coach, Olson was instrumental in building Stanford into one of the top collegiate synchronized swimming programs in the nation. During her time on The Farm, she played a role in five of the six Cardinal national championships, as a student-athlete in 1998 and as a coach for four straight seasons from 2005-08.
Olson was also responsible for bringing some of the nation's top student-athletes to The Farm, boasting some of the best recruiting classes in collegiate synchronized swimming history.
Olson brought the enthusiasm and dedication necessary to dominate in synchronized swimming, as seen during the 2007 and 2008 seasons with Stanford's sweep of the U.S. Nationals and Collegiate Nationals.
In 2012, despite five swimmers taking the year off to train with the U.S. Olympic Team, Olson guided Stanford to a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Collegiate Nationals and a runner-up finish at the U.S. Nationals.
In 2011, she led the Cardinal to a runner-up finish at the U.S. Collegiate National Championships, held in Buffalo, N.Y. Stanford placed first in the team and duet competitions on a its way to a total of 90 points at the championships.
In 2010, Olson directed Stanford to runner-up finishes at both the U.S. Collegiate Nationals and the U.S. National Championships. Playing host to the U.S. Collegiates, Stanford placed second in the team competition, third and fourth in duet and second and fourth in the trio event in March. The Cardinal finished first in the team and duet competitions at the U.S. Nationals in Huntersville, N.C. in April.
In 2009, Olson guided the Cardinal to a runner-up finish at the National Collegiate Championships in March and a fourth-place finish at the U.S. National Championships in May. Stanford advanced to the Collegiate Championships after winning the West Regional title. The Cardinal placed first in the team competition and took the top two spots in both the trio and duet competitions at the regional.
In 2008, Olson led Stanford to its fourth consecutive Collegiate National Championship after winning gold medals in Solo, Duet, Trio and finishing with the silver in team. Olson was also honored as Collegiate Coach of the Year for the fourth straight season. The 2008 campaign marked a breakthrough in synchronized swimming as Olson led the Cardinal to the U.S. National Championships, making Stanford the first collegiate team to accomplish that feat, an achievement usually reserved for club teams.
In 2007, Olson led the team to its third straight Collegiate National Championship, after sweeping the gold medals in Solo, Duet, Trio and Team. For her efforts, Olson was honored as the Collegiate Coach of the Year, in addition to being named the 2007 U.S. Coach of the Year. In April, she led Stanford to the gold medal at U.S. Nationals in solo, duet and team, the first time in history for a collegiate program. Olson's team also dethroned club powerhouse Santa Clara Aquamaids in all events. The Cardinal was also unbeaten during the regular season.
In 2006, Stanford won its third Collegiate National Championship and took silver at U.S. Nationals. Olson's squad earned the gold medal in the Duet event, becoming the first collegiate team ever to do so. Named the Collegiate Coach of the Year, Olson also led Stanford to the silver medal at U.S. Nationals, and brought the team within a point of gold. Olson's student-athletes did earn the gold medal in the duet event, becoming the first collegiate team ever to do so.
In 2005, Olson's team swept Collegiate Nationals and claimed four medals at U.S. Nationals, including a gold by Katie Norris in the Solo Event. The team finished second overall, the highest placement in Stanford's history at the competition. Olson was inducted into the Synchro Hall of Fame, named the Collegiate Coach of the Year and received the Esther Williams Creative Achievement Award.
Overall, Olson led the Cardinal team to four first-place finishes and five second place finishes at Collegiate Nationals in just 11 seasons at Stanford. She also led the team to two first-place finishes, four second-place finishes and a fourth-place finish at U.S. Nationals.
During her collegiate athletic career, Olson captained the Stanford squad in 1998 and led the Cardinal to its first-ever NCAA Championship. She was a four-time U.S. Synchronized Swimming All-American (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000) and Collegiate All-American (1997, 1998). She also received the Stanford "Block S" Outstanding Athlete Award her junior year (1998).
Olson was a two-year member of the Junior National Team, a five-year member of the First National Team, and a two-time U.S. Olympic Team member (1996, 2000), winning a gold medal in 1996. She was honored as the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Athlete of the Year in both 1996 and 2000 and as Olympic Team Captain in 2000. Olson coached for one of the top clubs in the country, the Walnut Creek Aquanuts, and led nationwide Olympic clinics from 1996-2001. She served as a volunteer assistant coach at Stanford before assuming head coach responsibilities in the fall of 2001.
During the 2008 Olympic Games, Olson served as a broadcaster for synchronized swimming for NBC. She was also a four-year AAC Athlete Representative for the USOC. In 2005, she won the Ninetta Davis Athlete Representative Award for service as an Athlete's Representative. She is a member of the National Team Program committee and has been selected among the top coaches in the country to be a potential National Team coach. She also served as a 2004 USOC Summit Committee member alongside seven other Olympic Gold Medalists. In addition, Olson coached the U.S. Junior National team in the summer of 2008.
Olson's husband, Erick, is a firefighter/paramedic. Their first child, Kemmerick Patrick Olson, was born in March of 2009. They welcomed their second son, Logan, in Septmeber of 2010.