ASCA Hall of Fame Coach Kathy McKee Dies, 69

ASCA Hall of Famer and legendary North Carolina swim coach Kathy McKee has died. She turned 69 earlier this month.

A memorial for McKee will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 19, at Davidson College Presbyterian Church in Davidson, North Carolina.

McKee had a long career at some of the biggest clubs in the country, including decades at SwimMAC Carolina in Charlotte and the Dynamo Swim Club in Georgia. She led SwimMAC as the Manager of Competitive Team Develop and a swim coach from 1994 through 2012, before leaving to coach at the North Carolina Aquatic Club. In 2017, she returned as the program’s associate head coach, and more recently settled into a role as part of the program’s “Leadership Team.”

Prior to her time with SwimMAC, she spent 17 years as the head age group coach at the Dynamo Swim Club in Georgia.

Among her honors and achievements, she was named as a coach of the 2007 National Junior Team, was a three time Georgia Age Group Coach of the Year recipient, the 2014 North Carolina Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year, and received the Phillips Outstanding Service Award. She spoke at the ASCA World Clinic numerous times.

Among the swimmers she tutored as age groupers at Dynamo include Mary Ellen BlanchardCarlton Bruner, and Eric Wunderlich. Wunderlich was a three-time World Champion in the 400 medley relay, two-time Pan Pacs champion (including individually in the 100 breast in 1995), and a member of the 1996 US Olympic Team.

Blanchard was a member of the US National Team who won the 200 breast at the 1989 Pan Pacific Championships, and Bruner was the 1995 Pan American Games champion in the 1500 free.

University of North Carolina assistant coach Sean Quinn, who swam for and coached with McKee for almost 30 years, posted a remembrance of her on his Instagram page.

“Over the last 28 years I had the privilege of calling Kathy my coach, my colleague (NCAC and SwimMAC) and then most importantly my friend. She taught me the value of process, the importance of standards, consistency is a must, and take time to invest in the person and not just the swimmer. She was one of the most selfless people I have ever known, she’d hate this post 🙂 BUT Kathy deserves to be celebrated! Kathy I love you and appreciate all you did for all of us! Thinking of the thousands of swimmers she influenced over the last 40+ years is simply amazing, you all carry Kathy with you. Honor Kathy by living your life with with hard work, passion, commitment, and remember to enjoy the journey.

No one person will be able to replace her but she has an army of people she influenced in her career that will no doubt continue her legacy with great passion and commitment. Thank you Kathy. Rest in peace.


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Ronnie Sharpe
3 months ago

I had the honor and privilege to train one summer and a Holiday break between college semesters with the Dynamos, a Team with a deep, rich history of not only developing and producing great swimmers but modeling and mentoring student athletes into productive and successful champions in all aspects of life. The Dynamo’s success comes from a long line of outstanding, dedicated, and passionate coaches throughout the decades. 

Age Group coaching is a Special Calling for those who possess and teach us such invaluable lessons and traits that we carry with us throughout our lifetime: dedication, perseverance, good sportsmanship, commitment to and passion for excellence, self-discipline, mental toughness, competitive drive, and overall teamwork and camaraderie.  One never forgets their first Age Group… Read more »

3 months ago

What was the cause of death?

3 months ago

A coach’s coach for sure. Lucky to have spent a brief, but educational 3 months with you out at Moss Creek learning that it’s okay to give them more, they can handle it.

RIP, Coach

3 months ago

We lost a great person and coach this week. We will miss you Kathy.

Old and Moldy
3 months ago

I’ve been privileged to have been around some great coaches during my years as a swimmer, a coach and as a parent. In terms of working with kids, Kathy may have been the best. And as others have noted, she was a wonderful person. She loved her family, her co-workers and her community. She especially loved her kids. Hers is an example of a life well lived. Well done. Rest in peace, Kathy.

Ray Woods
3 months ago

RIP Kathy

Mary Ellen Blanchard Warta
3 months ago

So sad to hear this news about Coach Kathy. She was an absolute highlight in my life and my swimming career. I will remember her fondly and she will be in my prayers always.

Lost Translation
3 months ago

RIP. Great coach and even better person

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, …

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