2021 Swammy Awards: Tom Rushton is the Europe’s Coach of the Year

Despite a slew of COVID-19 outbreaks that affected his swimmers at every turn, Tom Rushton has coached some of the most prolific swimmers this year, including Asian Female Swimmer of the Year Siobhan Haughey, Chad le Clos, Kregor Zirk, Simona Kubona, Travis Mahoney, and more.

Rushton, Canadian, is a coach of Energy Standard, the International Swimming League club who won the most recent season and has won two out of ISL’s three leagues of existence. Rushton’s work with Energy Standard already earned him a 2018 Swammy in the same category with the rest of the Energy Standard staff, but this year, Energy’s swimmers pushed the boundaries farther than ever before.

Sjostrom, for example, became the first swimmer to clear 1000 MVP points in the League. Adam Barrett swam Masters for years before returning to represent Energy Standard and clinching the season title with his third-place skins finish. And Haughey broke both the SCM 50 and 100 free Asian records.

All of this is a testament to Rushton’s coaching when you look at Energy Standard’s relatively humble beginnings, when he and James Gibson began training just a small group of athletes at the Gloria Sports Arena in Turkey. 

Rushton’s work has extended beyond an electrifying ISL season. He’s served as le Clos’ personal coach, and le Clos has been a consistent top performer this year. Rushton informally represented South Africa when the delegation was prevented from traveling to SC Worlds because of the surge of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. At that same meet, Rushton formally represented Estonia, especially his personally trained swimmer Zirk, who broke the Estonian LCM 200 free record in April.

Rushton has his own successful swimming background. He’s a member of Kenyon College’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and the only DIII swimmer to ever claim the national title in the 500 free for four consecutive years.

Honorable Mentions

  • James Gibson: Another Energy Standard staple, Gibson was our winner in 2019 and the year before as part of the club staff. His active Instagram with over 45,000 followers has also helped make elite swimming more accessible to the world at large.
  • Radovan Siljevski: As the head coach of the elite group at Södertörn Swimming Club, Siljevski’s most high profile swimmer is one of the best in the world: Sarah Sjostrom. But he’s also shown he’s capable of growing a team, with Emelie Fast raking in Swedish junior records at the end of this year.

Past winners


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Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 year ago

Who are Rylov and Kolesnikov coached by? If I’m correct, they are both training with Energy Standard squad. If Rushton is their primary coach, then the decision of swimswam could make some sense, but I highly doubt he is.

stewart gold in paris

rylov: Andrey Shishin , kolesnikov: dmitry lazarev

1 year ago

Rushton 😱 😳
Attila Selmeci, David McNulty, Bernd Berkhahn, Mel Marshall or Fabrizio Antonelli did a amazing year in 2021. Rushton is not near of the top 5 of European coach in 2021 for me.
OG is more harder to win that ISL !

Last edited 1 year ago by Carter10
1 year ago

Never heard of this guy. My vote goes to Bernd Berkhan.

Reply to  Classic_Swimmer
1 year ago

Seems like a good pick. Coached Köhler, Wellbrock and Van Rouwendaal to olympic individual medals and did a great job developing Gose and Märtens. Is there any other coach who coached three different athletes (two of them in the pool) to olympic medals this year?

I also think that the swiss coaches (Ponti, Desplanches, Djakovic, Mityukov, Mamie) and israeli coaches (mainly Gorbenko) deserve a shout-out. Not sure if at least two out of Chikunova/Rylov/Minakov/Kolesnikov have the same coach, if so then he/she would also be a good option. Also sadly i have to say that whoever is responsible for turkish swimming has done a very good job in recent years.

Margaret Smith
1 year ago

Tom Rushto your dad would be smiling.

Reply to  Margaret Smith
1 year ago

Yes it’s definitely in the genes!

1 year ago

Nothing against Tom- surely you have mixed up athletes that just compete for energy standard and train there while doing so. The swedish ladies train at their national training centre and not with the club team as well. Congratulations to Tom and all the athletes mentioned regardless.

Gloria en Sports Arena
Reply to  Skipper
1 year ago

Sarah was stuck at home for a while during COVID in 2020, but Tom and James Gibson are definitely her primary coaches.

She was the original Energy Standard training club signee, back before ISL even existed.

1 year ago

LOL!!!!! What a joke. He is not the coach of all those swimmers you listed.

ISL coaches (basically assistants) are just timing their sets/practices.

1 year ago

Pretty sure the swimming bio of him is for his brother Elliot?

Reply to  Wrasa
1 year ago

It’s the correct bio

Reply to  Canswim13
1 year ago

Ahh they were both there. I remember Tom saying he trained with the Hoosiers at one time so got confused. I know Elliot was a 500/1650 champ at Kenyon too.

1 year ago

ouf questionable