Synchronized swimming coach leaves for business world

After coaching her synchronized swimming team to national rankings, Kim Wurzel-Lo Porto has left the University of the Incarnate Word to try her hand at selling land.

Wurzel-Lo Porto, UIW’s first and only head synchronized swimming coach, is hanging up her whistle to become a licensed real estate agent for Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper.

The former Olympian arrived at UIW in 2001 and started the synchronized swimming program from scratch with only three swimmers with novice-level experience. Within four years of starting the program, the Cardinals were ranked the third-best collegiate team in the nation. The team would continue to post top finishes capped by a 2012 NCAA Collegiate National Runner-Up finish.  The 2012 team won national championships in team and duet events.

These accomplishments earned Wurzel-Lo Porto the title as the 2012 U.S. Synchronized Swimming Coach of the Year. She won a total of eight South Collegiate Regional Championship titles in her career, including 2013 when the Cardinals defeated the likes of University of Florida, William & Mary and University of Richmond.

During her time at UIW, Wurzel-Lo Porto placed seven swimmers on the Senior National Team to represent the United States. Additionally, she was the assistant coach for Senior National Team 2 in 2006 and 2008 and was the head coach for the Junior National Team in 2009 and 2010 – taking the Juniors to the Junior World Championships in 2010.  Two of her former athletes were on the World/Pan American Senior Team in UIW alumni Lyssa Wallace and Danielle Kramer and current UIW swimmer Rosilyn Tegart represented the United States at the World University Games this summer.

A native of Santa Clara, Calif., Wurzel-Lo Porto moved to San Antonio in 2001 when UIW offered her the head coaching position in exchange for getting her education. During that time, she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology.

UIW wanted her to start and coach the team based on her personal achievements in the sport.

She competed in the 2000 Olympics and was a five-time national champion, a six-time Senior National Team member, a two-time Junior National Team athlete, an eight-time All American and the Athlete of the Year in USA Synchro in 2000.

“I want to thank the University of the Incarnate Word along with Dr. Lou Agnese (UIW president), Dr. David Jurenovich (vice president for enrollment management and student services), Mark Papich (athletic director), and Stacy Nordquist (assistant athletic director for compliance) for trusting in me to not only start the synchronized swim team but to build it to what it is today — national champions.

“Without the support and belief I could make a difference from all of you, I would not have been as successful as I am. I have been blessed and honored to work for this university over the last 12 years and will miss it dearly.”

Papich stressed Wurzel-Lo Porto will be missed.

“Losing a coach the caliber of Kim is always a sad moment for the team and UIW as a whole,” Papich said. “The time and effort she put into her sport, her athletes, and the university are immeasurable.  The honors that she and her team have garnered during her tenure have made UIW Synchro a national brand.”

“Building this program from the ground up with blood, sweat and some tears has been a remarkable journey,” said Lo Porto, who is married to Brandon Lo Porto and is the mother of three children. “I have had the pleasure to coach 80 athletes and make a difference in their lives.  I will forever cherish the memories and will never forget what an unbelievable ride this has been.”



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