Air Force Associate Head Swim Coach Anthony Boettcher Dies, Aged 60

Anthony Boettcher, an associate head swimming coach at the US Air Force Academy, died on Sunday, March 12. He was 60 years old and in his 13th season with the men’s team at Air Force.

No cause of death has been made public.

“Once your life crossed paths with Anthony, you were a friend for life. I often marveled at his ability to maintain close relationships with so many of his former teammates, swimmers he coached, parents, fellow coaches, colleagues, and his large extended family. He cared deeply for his athletes and also for those cadets who were fortunate enough to have him as a teacher in Basic Swimming,” Air Force Head Men’s Swimming Coach Rob Clayton said. “The impact he made on so many was seen during his final days as hundreds of people visited him in the hospital. He had touched so many, and so many wanted to see him and express their gratitude and love for him.

“He and I shared the deck and coached together for over a decade,” Clayton said. “He was a partner during the best of times and during the rough times. I could trust him to always do what’s best for me personally and what’s best for the cadets. I will miss his friendship, his professionalism, his oft-misunderstood sense of humor. Mostly I will miss the man who always reminded me why we do what we do, how we take our love for a sport and use it to love and serve people. Anthony loved well, and he was loved by so many. He leaves behind many who mourn, but who are better people for having known Anthony. Rest in peace, my friend.”

A lifelong resident of Colorado, Boettcher had over 30 years of experience as a high school and club coach in the state. He helped Air Force claim three Western Athletic Conference championships (2016, 2017 and 2020). He helped coach 28 individual conference champions and six conference relay champions. He also helped three swimmers achieve All-American status in Michael Barnosky in 2016 and Zach Nelson and Wen Zhang in 2020. Boettcher also coached four straight WAC Swimmers of the Year (Nelson in 2020, Isaac Gwin in 2021 and Zhang in 2022 and 2023).

Boettcher came to the Academy from Falfins Swimming, USA Swimming club team in Colorado Springs and was the head coach for the Wheat Ridge Piranhans (1982-90) and a year-round USA Swimming Coach in the town of Evergreen. He also coached the boys and girls high school teams at Evergreen High School, leaving as the winningest men’s swimming coach in Jefferson County history. Boettcher was a long-time volunteer for Colorado Swimming, Inc., and USA Swimming. He earned multiple awards for his volunteerism with both organizations.

Boettcher also swam collegiately at Wyoming, where he lettered in two seasons and left as one of the top swimmers in program history.

He was the seventh of eight children and is survived by his siblings, Mary Boettcher, Teresa Dalbec (Charlie), Elizabeth Galbraith, Cecelia Sallee (Scott), Margaret Smith and Gloria Horne. He also leaves behind 16 cherished nieces and nephews and 21 (soon to be 22) grand nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made on Anthony’s behalf to Sigma Gamma Rho’s Swim 1922 Project, which works to reduce drowning rates within the Black community.

Tributes to Boettcher on Facebook:

Anthony BoettcherThank You. The lessons you taught went far beyond the pool.Finish hard… This one runs through my…

Posted by Megan Anthony Bogard on Sunday, March 12, 2023

"Mostly I will miss the man who always reminded me why we do what we do, how we take our love for a sport and use it to…

Posted by Jerome Boettcher on Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Rest in peace Anthony Boettcher. You were an amazing friend and an incredible mentor who will be missed very very much! 

Posted by Tristan Cross on Monday, March 13, 2023

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Joseph G Luchetta
1 year ago

I knew Anthony from at Regis Jesuit High School, Anthony and I swam together in high school and summer programs winning several league and state summer championships. We competed against each other in college and it was a honor to have been his friend for 45 years. We always had early morning practices and without Anthony’s sense of humor those would have been a bunch of mundane laps. My fondest memories of Anthony always centered around our competitive nature and his ability to convince me I could outswim anyone in our relay races no matter who I was up against. He will be deeply missed but we are all better off in life having known Anthony and I know where… Read more »

IU Kicker
1 year ago

Here is a toast…

Shawn Smith
1 year ago

Anthony was an incredible motivator, a teacher to all, a tremendous coach, a caring human, and a great story teller…words don’t do justice. We all miss you brother. Over 50 years in Colorado Swimming as a club athlete, collegiate athlete, summer club coach, lesson instructor, high school coach, club coach and a college coach. You positively influenced the lives of thousands of people at every level through the sport of swimming. You were a mentor to multiple generations of athletes and coaches. Rest In Peace my friend.

1 year ago

Amazing man with a huge heart to all! He will be sorely missed!

Jim Nickell
1 year ago

Anthony was a great teacher and coach
He made the pool deck a better place !
Wishing Peace and wonderful memories to his family and friends

Coach G
1 year ago

Will miss him greatly! RIP my friend!

1 year ago

Fix the age on the title

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »