2019 Swammy Awards: US Coach of the Year Greg Meehan

To see all of our 2019 Swammy Awards, click here. 

2019 US COACH OF THE YEAR: GREG MEEHAN (ALTO SWIM CLUB)

Greg Meehan, who will be the USA Head Coach for the women at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, had another successful year with the Stanford women. He coached his swimmers to 12 medals at the 2019 FINA World Championships. That included 5 individual medals and 7 relay medals.

Sprinter Simone Manuel swept the sprints at Worlds and won 7 medals overall (including 5 relay medals), the most ever won by a woman in a single Worlds meet. Teammte Katie Ledecky won the 800 free, took silver in the 400 free, and took silver with the 4×200 free relay. Katie Drabot earned bronze in the 100 fly, while Lia Neal got a silver for her prelims swim in the 4×100 free.

Meehan coached Ella Eastin to a silver in the 200 IM at the World University Games. After taking a relay medal at Worlds, Neal went on to take gold at the Pan American Games in the 4×100 free relay and 4×100 medley relay (prelims swim).

While Meehan also led Stanford to their 3rd-straight NCAA title, we have a separate Swammy Award for NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year detailing those accomplishments.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

In no particular order

  • Dave Durden (Cal Aquatics)- Durden, the USA Men’s Head Coach for 2020, coached several medalists across WUGs, Pan Ams, and Worlds. Nathan Adrian and Ryan Murphy were both gold medalists at Worlds for their relay performances. Murphy also medaled in the 200 back. Andrew Seliskar earned bronze for his leadoff on the 4×200 free. Durden also coached multiple medalists between WUGs and Pan Ams: Nick Norman, Sean Grieshop, Daniel Carr, Tom Shields, Matt Josa, and Adrian.
  • Gregg Troy (Gator Swim Club)- Troy coached Caeleb Dressel to another historic performance at 2019 Worlds. Dressel earned 8 medals, the most ever won by a man in a single Worlds meet. He set new American Records in the 50 fly, 100 free, and 50 free, as well as a World Record in the 100 fly. He was also a part of the mixed 4×100 free World Record.
  • Mike Parratto (Riptide Swim Team)- Parratto and Regan Smith made their 2nd trip to Worlds, with Smith earning her first individual gold and World Record in the 200 back. Smith set a World Record in the 100 back on the leadoff leg of the women’s 4×100 medley and her team went on to break the relay World Record.
  • Ray Looze (Indiana Swim Club)- Looze’s swimmers won 10 medals in Gwangju. Lilly King repeated as champion in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, and contributed to the women’s 4×100 medley and mixed 4×100 medley. Zach Apple and Blake Pieroni medaled in relays. Apple was also a WUGs champion. The breaststroke group had a successful summer at Pan Ams and WUGs. Annie Lazor swept the breaststrokes at Pan Ams and Cody Miller earned a silver. Ian Finnerty was a WUGs Champion and Pan Ams bronze medalist.

Previous Winners:

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Yozhik

How is it possible that the same person can be proficient enough in coaching super sprinter Manuel, super long distance swimmer Ledecky, outstanding middle distance swimmer Rock, strong IMer and now is going to train a backstroke star Smith. Is he indeed that knowledgeable in all aspects of coaching job? What is his real contribution to his students success? How does it work at Stanford? I remember him saying in 2016 that he doesn’t know what he can add more to Ledecky’s success. And he actually added nothing. Nevertheless he still receives credit as her coach. This article is no exception.

Tim Morrison

Well who else are you going to credit?

Yozhik

That is my question as well. Sometimes I have a feeling that whenever a swimmer reaches some level it becomes a self-coaching mostly.

Woke Stasi

2020 is only two days old, but Meehan’s year is already off to a roaring start: he just received a weird comment from Yozhik!

Yozhik

Can you just explain me how it works. Does this coach create an individual plan for each swimmer on his team? And if he does then how it is possible to be such a versatile coach at highest level.
There is no reason to be offensive. I really don’t understand how one coach can have such encyclopedic knowledge and unbelievable experience to train any type of swimmers at any swimming disciplines at World class level.

I never swam for Greg, specifically. But from my own swimming experience, it’s pretty impressive how much college coaches handle and oversee at this level. Most often, the head coach sets the overall training plan for the season, but delegates specific groups to assistants. I swam two years in a single-gender program like Stanford, and we typically had a sprint group and a distance group. But the head coach still sets the high-level plan for both groups – when to build in ‘regeneration weeks,’ when to take rest, when to start shifting from aerobic base-building into more speed and detail work. Then within each group, coaches are tailoring things to specific athletes with quite a bit of precision. We had… Read more »

Woke Stasi

I think the biggest barrier to Coach Meehan winning countless NCAA championships is not Cal or any other program; rather, it’s Stanford’s admissions department. You.can be a dynamite swimmer, but if you can’t get in you won’t be scoring points for Stanford. Give Greg (and his assistants) a lot of credit for creating and maintaining a very good relationship with admissions. This skill, in addition to coaching savvy, is vitally important for success at The Farm.

Coach

Congratulations Coach Meehan.

marklewis

There are a few videos of some of his groups like the IM group. It all looks very organized and the swimmers seem on point as to what they’re trying to accomplish in the various sets.

Eastin and Forde are top contenders for the Olympic team, but there are a lot of good swimmers they’ll have to beat to make the top 2.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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