To see all of our 2020 Swammy Awards, click here.
2020 U.S. Club Coach of the Year: Bruce Marchionda, TAC Titans
Bruce Marchionda‘s TAC Titans have been tearing up the pool in 2020 – and it’s earned him our second-ever Club Coach of the Year Swammy Award.
We added this to our stable of Swammy awards last year to recognized a U.S. club coach succeeding at the age group level, in contrast to our U.S. Coach of the Year award, which focuses mostly on senior-level and international-level success.
Marchionda’s star pupil is Claire Curzan, the 16-year-old phenom who has rapidly risen into the Olympic team conversation. Curzan smashed national age group (NAG) records in both the long course and short course versions of the 100 fly this year. Curzan went 49.73 in short course yards, becoming the youngest swimmer ever to break 50 seconds. She smashed the national age group record for 15-16s, and now sits tied for 5th all-time for swimmers of any age.
In long course meters, Curzan blasted a 56.61 to take over the NAG record. That puts her 12th all-time for swimmers of any age.
Curzan also set NAG records in the 50 SCY free (21.51) and 100 SCY free (47.23), and late in the year broke a Regan Smith NAG record with a 50.18 in the 100 SCY backstroke while moving to #2 all-time among 15-16s in the 200 SCY back (1:49.35).
But this award isn’t just about one swimmers. While Curzan has stolen headlines all year, Marchionda’s TAC Titans team is deep. They won the team points title in USA Swimming’s virtual Winter 18 & Under Championships, putting up 60 more points than any other team.
16-year-old Charlotte Hook nabbed four top-ten finishes, headed by second in the 200 IM and third in the 200 fly. Hook ranks in the top three in age group history in the 200 fly with a 1:53.49 she put up back in August.
Others with high finishes in the virtual 18&Under Championships:
- Caroline Pennington – 2nd, 1650 free – 16:03.21
- Caroline Pennington – 6th, 500 free – 4:43.46
- Michael Cotter – 2nd, 200 free – 1:35.39
- Michael Cotter – 8th, 200 IM – 1:46.52
- Brooke Zettel – 8th, 200 IM – 1:58.48
When we ranked out NCAA recruits in the spring, Marchionda’s TAC Titans were well represented. Curzan (#1) and Hook (#2) swept the top two spots in the high school graduating class of 2022. Brooke Zettel was ranked 17th in the class of 2021. Meanwhile Lance Norris (14th), Michael Cotter (#17) and Braeden Haughey (#18) all made the boys class of 2022 ranks.
That’s a sign of a good program from top to bottom. An elite star like Curzan isn’t an outlier, but a merely one of the more noticeable signs of a program producing high-level swimmers across age groups.
In no particular order.
- Chris Plumb, Carmel Swim Club: Carmel surged into contention late, setting three NAG relay records at a December dual meet with Lakeside Aquatic Club. Carter Lancaster, Brandon Malicki, Emile Haig and Gregg Enoch broke records in the 13-14 age group for both the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay, while Lancaster, Lewis Zhang, Haig and Enoch broke the 400-yard free relay record.
- Brent Arckey, Sarasota Sharks: Arckey’s Sarasota Y Sharks finished second in the virtual Winter 18&Under Champs meet, with Emma Weyant winning the 500 free (4:38.39) and 400 IM (4:04.48). Liam Custer was a yearlong distance standout and won the 1650 free at 16 years old. Meanwhile 15-year-old Michaela Mattes and 16-year-old Natalie Mannion have both been big-time performers nationally.