Bruce Gemmell Wins ASCA Coach of the Year Award

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 13

September 12th, 2014 National, News

For the second-straight year, NCAP’s Bruce Gemmell has been named the American Swim Coaches’ Association (ASCA) Coach of the Year, the organization announced at their annual awards ceremony on Friday night.

Gemmell is primarily known for his two senior-level athletes: his son, Andrew Gemmell, who splits time between training with his father and at the University of Georgia; and Katie Ledecky, the World Record holder in the 400, 800, and 1500 meter freestyles in long course meters.

This year was another banner season for Bruce Gemmell’s athletes. Ledecky broke the 800 and 1500 freestyle World Records mid-season, and then capped her year with 5 gold medals at the 2014 Pan Pac Championships in Australia, where she broke the World Record in the 400 for the second time in a month in 3:58.37 (she also got it at U.S. Nationals), and also re-broke her own record in the 1500 free. In total, she won every women’s individual freestyle from 200-1500 meters, and was a part of the American effort to win the 800 free relay.

Andrew Gemmell, meanwhile, won his second career National Championship in the men’s 10km race: the premier event in open water swimming. He also earned a second spot on the U.S. National Team with a 15:07.82 in the 1500 free at Nationals (5th-ranked), and won gold in the 10k at the rescheduled Pan Pacs race in Hawaii.

Gemmell is also the “coach of record” for 2014 Jr. Pan Pacs team swimmer Isabella Rongione, who won a bronze medal in the 1500 meter free at that meet.

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8 years ago

Remember a swimmer who swam terrific under 7 different coached- Carl Robie. It is a 2 way street!!

Ray Peden
8 years ago

No question about it, Bruce Gemmell is without a doubt this countries number one swim coach.

8 years ago

Mostly well deserved ! what a great humble dedicated coach !! happy for both

8 years ago

John G – you obviously do not know Gemmell. He is a fabulous coach and is one of the most humble coaches. He isn’t “taking all the credit”… He is rightly being awarded for taking one of the country’s best swimmers to the next level and helping her reach heights nobody thought was possible. Not to mention how well he has coached is son Andrew for 10 years. Also many Jr Nat/ Nat team level swimmers. Congrats Mr. Gemmell – very well deserved.

John g
8 years ago

Did a great job inheriting kids and taking all credit.

Reply to  John g
8 years ago

I don’t know – Katie Ledecky has clearly improved under his coaching over the past two years. I presume his other swimmers have done the same.

Reply to  John g
8 years ago

I get what you’re saying with “inheriting,” I feel Bob Bowman really has done nothing for some of his younger swimmers like Gillian Ryan or Becca Mann who have come from other teams. Bruce Gemmell is different, you know Katie Ledecky’s coach left and she has still improved. Yes I give a lot of that credit to her – but Gemmell is the real deal. After a coaching adjustment, and being effective for such a high profile swimmer is phenomenal. So I don’t view this as just inheriting a swimmer as you suggest.

Reply to  A
8 years ago

You’d really have to look at the rest of the group and see how they’ve done in the last two years to assess his capabilities. These awards seem to recognize who is fortunate enough to be coaching the best swimmers in the U.S. at any given time, as opposed to pure development of swim talent. He’s clearly a very capable distance freestyle coach (I would say one of the best from what I’ve seen), but I think Katie is so phenomenal that many could coach her to success. Like any other coach, I’m sure his style works for some and not for others, as does Bowman’s style and approach.

Jim C
Reply to  Swimchap
8 years ago

What Katie has done over the past two years is so phenomenal I cannot believe she could have done it without some very good coaching.

Reply to  John g
8 years ago

Jealousy issues? That statement could be made about every college coach in America, so why make it about Coach Gemmell?

While Katie is a phenomenal talent and hard worker, Bruce has done an impressive job keeping things in perspective and helping Katie get better each year while balancing all of the demands of being one of the faces of American swimming.

He is also a class act, and he is the type of role model we should all want working with our youth.

Congratulations Coach!

Reply to  John g
8 years ago

He inherited his son too right, the one that had an open water silver medals at worlds as a teenager in high school.

bobo gigi
8 years ago

Well-deserved award.
What Mr Gemmell does with Miss Ledecky is absolutely amazing.
Can’t wait to see what both prepare for the next 2 years until Rio.
I think Katie will continue to improve her speed to be ready for the 200 free at the olympic games and her dream of freestyle triple. Around 1.53 high/1.54 low in 2016.
I also think both want to see the 800 free world record crushed and be at the same level as the 400 and the 1500. Something around 8.08.
There’s still some work to do for that winning duo. 🙂

8 years ago

Andrew Gemmell also won the Pan Pac gold.

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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