12 Coaches Meet Eligibility Criteria for Tokyo 2020 Head Coach

Under the newly-minted leadership of CEO Tim Hinchey, USA Swimming underwent some significant administrative changes, including a major morphing of the permanent National Team leadership and National Team Director role. Not much has changed in terms of  selections of national teams have changed, so far, including the announcement of selection criteria for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team head coach.

One major change, however, is that USA Swimming has made the list of meets where coaches can earn the right to coach the Olympic Team much more specific than the previously-vague “high level competition” requirement. Specifically, the list of meets that a coach must have been a head coach for to be eligible for Olympic head coach selection:

  • 2014 Pan Pacs
  • 2015 Worlds
  • 2015 World University Games
  • 2015 Pan American Games
  • 2016 Olympic Games
  • 2017 World Championships
  • 2017 World University Games
  • 2018 Pan Pacs

This drastically narrows down the field of eligible candidates, and notably excludes the Pan American Games or Short Course World Championships.

USA Swimming says that they will contact eligible coaches who meet the criteria by May 6th, 2018 to gauge their interest. The name of a head coach, including the name of a replacement, will be submitted to the USOC on or before May 6th, 2019

The Head Coach Selection Committee will be made up of 4 individuals, who will propose the 2 selections (1 men’s team head coach and 1 women’s team head coach) to the National Team Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer; which is to say, Lindsey Mintenko and Mike Unger, at present.

The committee:

  • National Team Technical Advisor, or designee
  • Steering Committee Chair
  • Athlete Advisory Council Representative
  • One 2017-2018 National Team Coach (presumably one who isn’t eligible).

USA Swimming’s CEO (Hinchey) will review the recommendations of Mintenko and Unger, and make final approval of the choices.

The list of eligible coaches:

So with the 2018 Pan Pacs recently named, that distills down to a final list of 10 eligible male coaches and 2 eligible female coaches (a referendum on the gender ratios of coaches at the highest level of swimming in-and-of itself). All 12 appear to meet the rest of the criteria, including having athletes on the 2017-2018 National Team (though one could argue that Hite’s departure from Wisconsin leaves him, at least temporarily, outside of the “currently coaching at the national level” criteria).

The new specific criteria also limit the ability to pull head coaches from past coaches, like Eddie Reese, who was the men’s Olympic head coach in 2004 and 2008, or Gregg Troy, who was a head coach in 2012, and instead focus on the more recent leadership of USA Swimming’s major international teams. Those coaches would still be eligible for assistant positions on the Olympic team, which are usually selected largely based on results of the Olympic Trials.

11 of the 12 coaches (Hite being the exception) currently coach collegiate teams. By conference, that breaks down to 1 from the ACC, 1 from the Big 12, 1 fro the SEC, 2 from the Big Ten (Hite would have been 3), 1 from Division II, and 5 from the Pac-12.

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That is dumb. Whoever is sending the most olympians to the team should be top candidates. I don’t see a problem with the way they used to do it

Derigan Silver

I believe that is generally how assistant coaches are selected. Seems to give the head coach time to prepare and makes plans while also including the “hot coaches” who have swimmers doing well at the meet.


So no Bauerle or Troy?


So they will have almost 1/2 of the Men’s 2020 team but can’t be head coach?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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