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.