“Bernal’s” No More, Gator Swim Club Formed in Massachusetts

Joe Bernal was a fixture in the New England swimming community for the last several decades. Besides a coaching stint at Harvard, he was also the head coach and owner of Bernal’s Gators Swim Club. This past year, Bernal retired from coaching. He was honored at the most recent American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame induction this past September.

The famed coach gained fame in the 1980s in particular for his coaching of World Record holder (and later USA Swimming board member) David Berkoff. He was also known for coaching another World Record holder, Bobby Hackett in the 1970s.

Last month, we received word that the name of the club would change. We reached out to current team owner Anne Frazier, who made this comment:

“Gator Swim Club was formed on January 27, 2016, when the assets of Bernal’s Gator Swim Club were purchased from Bernal’s Gators Swim Club of New England, Inc.  Gator Swim Club has no relationship to Joe Bernal.  He is not employed by the Club or involved in any of its operations”

Frazier did not comment as to why Bernal’s name had been removed from the club. She also did not comment as to why she specified that Bernal was no longer associated with the club. Thus far we have not been able to get comment from any of the other parties involved.



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Joe is an amazing coach and a great man! It makes total business sense to take the Bernal name off. Anne keeps the Gator name and recognize, but gats the separation to establish her own identity.


‘great man’, eh?


Somehow I knew I wouldn’t be the only one combing through comments today…


Guessing she didn’t mean anything by it other than Joe Bernal is no longer the club owner so why keep his name on it?

Ben Van Dyk

Coach Bernal is a professional and a gentleman. He will be missed. I had the pleasure of meeting him last summer in a mentoring session. Wonderful man.

The Only Sane Person Left

You understand the man has been accused of having a relationship with multiple underage swimmers, right? A gentleman?

About Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis is a swim coach, writer and swimming enthusiast. Chris does private consulting and coaching with teams and individuals. You can find him at www.facebook.com/cdswimcoach. Chris is a 2009 Graduate from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first professional athletic coach …

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