On August 1st, The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) announced their final 120 candidates for the 2017 Fitter and Faster Age Group Swim Coach of the Year Award. The award recognizes one coach every year who has transcended their role as an age group swim coach, and honors them for their dedication to their work.
When deciding which coaches they should nominate for this award, the ASCA created several different qualifications that quantify a coach’s success. They first nominated coaches from the top 50 14 and under age group teams in the United States, based on a combination of USA Swimming’s Virtual Club Championship (VCC) team rankings and USA Swimming’s top 20 individual rankings. This allowed the ASCA to reward coaches who not only have coached exceptional individual athletes, but also built up their teams as a whole.
The ASCA also nominated coaches from some of the top ranked teams in Local Swim Committees (LSC’s), who do not have a representative team in the top 50 of the VCC. Doing so gives recognition to smaller swimming programs across the nation who have coaches that are improving their teams as well, but have not reached the size of a VCC club.
Among the 120 coaches nominated for the award, several are well known names in the world of swimming. Nation’s Capital Swim Club was the top ranked age group club in 2017 using VCC rankings, which helped coach Sue Chen earn a nomination. Chen has coached many prolific athletes throughout her career, most notably United States Olympian Jack Conger, and has continued making Nation’s Capital one of the best club teams in the nation. Chen was Conger’s age group coach during her time at Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club.
Chris Davis Jr, the son of Swim Atlanta founder and Chris Davis Sr, is also one of the nominees for the award after helping Swim Atlanta become the #7 VCC program in the nation and having 10 top 20 athletes.
Team USA’s women’s head coach, Kate Lundsten is nominated for the award as well. Lundsten is currently the head coach of Aquajets Swim Team in Minnesota, and will coach Team USA at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships in Indianapolis, August 23rd-27th.
Three coaches achieved nominations after coaching athletes who broke NAG records in 2017.
- Rose Bowl Aquatics‘ Hector Jimenez earned a nomination with the help of his 12-year-old wonderkid Ronald Dalmacio, who broke 3 NAG records in April.
- Jonathon Zuchowski of Flood Aquatics in Florida also gained a nomination with some help from his son, Joshua, who broke the 200 and 400 IM NAG for 11-12.
- Rod Hansen of Irvine Aquatics gained a nomination thanks to his 11-12 men’s 400 free relay breaking the NAG.
Voting for Coach of the Year will be taking on the ASCA website until August 15th. The top 10 coaches with the most votes will be invited to the ASCA World Clinic Annual Awards Banquet and the winner of the award will be announced at the banquet on Thursday, August 31st.
Past ASCA/Fitter and Faster Age Group Award Winners: