James Sica enters his fourth year as the MIT men's and women's swimming and diving assistant coach for the 2020-21 season. He primarily directs the sprint training group while collaborating with Head Coach Meg French on the season plan for all training groups. Sica also directs the team’s dryland program and has served as the recruiting coordinator since the 2019-20 season for the Engineers.
In his first three seasons with the Engineers, Sica helped the men’s and women’s teams to three more consecutive NEWMAC Swimming and Diving Championships titles and multiple top-10 NCAA finishes.
During the 2019-20 season, the men’s and women’s teams extended their NEWMAC Conference Championships streaks to 12 and 10 consecutive titles, respectively. While the team was not able to compete at the 2020 NCAA Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Engineers had 27 qualifiers for the 2020 Championships and would have been the fourth-largest team represented at the meet.
MIT also had a program-record three student-athletes (Edenna Chen ‘23, James Richardson ‘23, and Sam Ubellacker ‘20) qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, which were subsequently moved to 2021 following the postponement of the Olympic Games.
During the 2018-19 season, the men’s team finished 6th and the women’s team finished 9th at the 2019 NCAA Championships. The men’s team also posted the #1 GPA in the country for both the fall (3.78) and spring (3.76) semesters, and also had 17 individuals named to the Scholar All-America team in the spring, tying for #1 in the country among all schools across Division I, II, and III.
In his first season with the Engineers, the men’s team finished 5th at the NCAA Championship with 252.50 points, while the women finished 6th with 211 points for their highest-ever point total at NCAA’s in program history.
Sica came to MIT from Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), where he served as an assistant coach at from 2015-17. AT CMU, he helped guide a number of student-athletes to NCAA Championship appearances and All-America honors.
Prior to his time with the Tartans, Sica was a volunteer assistant coach at nearby Harvard University for the 2014-15 season, as well as the associate head coach of the Cambridge Master's Swim Club. Sica also worked as an assistant coach at Ithaca College (N.Y.) from 2012-2014 while completing a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sport Psychology.
A 2012 undergraduate from Ithaca as a double major in Writing and English, he was also a member of the Bombers swimming and diving team that captured back-to-back UNYSSCA Championships in 2011 and 2012 and was voted as the team captain as a senior.