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.
- 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:
- 2014 Pan Pacs – Bob Bowman, Arizona State & Teri McKeever, Cal
- 2015 Worlds – Dave Salo, USC & Dave Durden, Cal
- 2015 World University Games – Ray Looze, Indiana & Mike Bottom, Michigan
- 2015 Pan American Games – Jason Turcotte, deceased & Matt Kredich, Tennessee
- 2016 Olympic Games – David Marsh, UCSD/Team Elite West & Bob Bowman, Arizona State
- 2017 World Championships – Greg Meehan, Stanford & Dave Durden, Cal
- 2017 World University Games – Carol Capitani, Texas & Whitney Hite, no current team
- 2018 Pan Pacs – Arthur Albiero, Louisville & Ray Looze, Indiana
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.
- Arthur Albiero, Louisville
- Mike Bottom, Michigan
- Bob Bowman, Arizona State
- Carol Capitani, Texas
- Dave Durden, Cal
- Whitney Hite, no current team
- Matt Kredich, Tennessee
- Ray Looze, Indiana
- David Marsh, UCSD/Team Elite West
- Teri McKeever, Cal
- Greg Meehan, Stanford
- Dave Salo, USC
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.