Brendan Hansen on Transition From Athlete to Coach (Video Report)

When you’re a great athlete, people expect you’ll be a great coach too. This isn’t always the case, as many great athletes expect all others to rise and compete at the same level they did. However, one Olympic swimmer has been experiencing success since he burst onto the head coaching scene just 3 years ago.

Brendan Hansen, a 6-time Olympic medalist, 8-time individual NCAA champion, and former world record holder, has countless accolades in the sport of swimming as an athlete. He was always giving back to the sport as an athlete, helping his teammates with technique and serving as a leader and captain for the teams he was a part of, but never saw himself in the coaching profession. When he stepped into the role, expectations were placed on him just as are every other great athlete who goes to the other side. People were expecting him to produce top level athletes; athletes that resembled him when he competed.

In an effort to deal with this pressure, Brendan has admittedly over-coached, but not in the way you might expect. He hasn’t been cranking out 80,000 yards weekly through ridiculous practice schedules and all the while exploding on his athletes when they don’t execute the perfect turn. Rather, he’s been upfront and honest with the athletes about what they have to do to get to the next level. In their case, college swimming.

Brendan realizes that it’s not his job now to produce the next olympian, or the next NCAA champion, or the next world-record breaker. It’s not his job to produce the next Brendan Hansen. It’s merely his job to put his athletes in a position to succeed when they move to on to the next step in their swimming career.

Leave a Reply

3 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
The real swim shady

I can tell you from experience that he gets it. He is doing well with his athletes and also works well with the high schools to make sure the kids can swim fast at the meets they want to swim fast at. He comes off as cocky to alot of people but he is down to earth with his athletes and coaches that he collaborates with.


The best coaches “develop” their swimmers.

As in Cody Miller breaststroke was “developed” by Ray Looze, and Cody won a bronze in Rio and set an AR. The coach developed the swimmer’s technique, and came up with special workouts to produce that result.


Cody Miller was a National age group record holder at 16. Ron Aitken developed Cody Miller as a swimmer.


Agreed. He was fortunate to have two good coaches in succession.


Hey here is hoping to be the next Charlie Kennedy, the best coach on the East Coast!
Except in Texas but that is cool too

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!