In addition to the overall U.S. National Team – which honors the top 6 athletes in the nation in each Olympic event – USA Swimming also honors coaches for helping place those athletes on the national team. The National Team coaching program named 67 different coaches to its roster for the 2014-2015 season.
The criteria is both simple and complex. Any coach who places an athlete on the national team is honored as a national team coach. That’s the simple part. Of course, it can get complicated trying to define who is a given athletes’s “primary coach” at any given point, especially with the trend of swimmers training with one club while officially representing another.
USA Swimming has some guidelines for determining and defining coaches, and you can view those here. The main takeaway is that USA Swimming works to include the coach who actually writes and runs the workout for each athlete, instead just the head coach of whatever club the swimmer represents nationally. There can also be multiple coaches added for the same athlete, with different classifications for the athlete’s college coach, current coach, developmental coach and so on.
The National Team coaches are eligible to earn bonuses through the Coach Incentive Program. Coaches earn bonuses when their athletes earn medals at USA Swimming’s Operation Gold meet for the year. That’s typically the major focus meet for the national team; last year it was the Pan Pacific Championships.
The full list of National Team coaches for the upcoming season is below. It’s a veritable “who’s who” of big names in the nation, and certainly a big honor for the coaches who qualified. You can also see the coaching list on this document from the USA Swimming website.