Claire Crippen, Chris Lear Take Over Roles as Acting Head Coaches for Germantown

In an email sent to families of the Germantown Academy Swim Team on Thursday, Claire Crippen, a Germantown alum, and Chris Lear have accepted positions as the acting head coaches of the Germantown Academy boys’ and girls’ swim teams. Crippen will assume the duties of director of the entire program, with the email specifically referring to both roles as “Acting Head Coach.”

No mention was made in the email of the status of legendary head coach Dick Shoulberg, who has trained almost a dozen Olympians in his illustrious career.

Shoulberg has been at Germantown since 1969, when he became the program’s first ever aquatics director and head boys’ and girls’ swim coach, according to his official bio on the Germantown Academy website. Shoulberg was named as the ASCA Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1989, is a member of the OIOC, is in the NISCA Coaches Hall of Fame, is on the ASCA Board of Directors, and in 2011 received the prestigious USA Swimming Award.

While no information was available in the email about Shoulberg’s status in the email, parents of swimmers on the team have told us that they haven’t seen Shoulberg on deck for “around three weeks”.

Neither Germantown Academy or Shoulberg has responded yet to a request for comment. The full text of the email, sent by Head of School Jim Connor, is below. Shoulberg is still listed on the Germantown Academy website as the program’s head coach. He is also still listed as the head coach of Germantown’s USA Swimming arm on its official USA Swimming curriculum. This is a developing story, and we will post more information as it becomes available.


Thank you in advance for your attention to the important information I am about to share. I am pleased to announce that Claire Crippen, GA Class of 2007, has agreed to become the Acting Director of GAAC and Acting Head Coach of GA Girls Swimming. Coach Crippen will oversee all aspects of the GAAC program, including supervision of the coaching staff, as well as serve as the head coach for the GA girls swimming and diving team and all that position entails.

I am also pleased to announce that Chris Lear has agreed to become the Acting Head Coach of GA Boys Swimming. While Coach Crippen will oversee the entire GA swimming and diving program, Coach Lear will serve as the head coach for the GA boys swimming and diving team and all that position entails.

The rest of the swimming and diving coaching staff will include Kerri McIlvain, Peggy Bradley, Mike Koziol, Jim DiFranco, Nina Smith and Matt Cox, with Colleen Boland continuing to serve as the boys and girls diving coach. These coaches will do everything possible to ensure the continuing quality of our interscholastic program.

Another item of importance is the GAAC overnight trip policy. In order to be consistent with all GAAC overnight trips, we are going to follow the same policy we have in place for age-group swimmers. All GAAC swimmers must be accompanied by a parent/guardian on GAAC-sponsored overnight trips. Elly Lawlor will send recommended lodging information to parents of those who will be swimming at meets, ie. North Baltimore and Rutgers, but families will be in charge of their own travel, hotel and food billing. She will soon be in touch about the December meet in Baltimore.

Have a great season.

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8 years ago

Coach Shoulberg has, and continues to be, a great inspiration. Both in the sport of swimming, and in life. He knows how to instill a work ethic that brings out the full potential in an athlete that serves them for the rest of their life. I thank ‘Coach Lewis” a high school track coach that inspired Coach Shoulberg many years back, so that he in turn could inspire so many of us.

Swimming Factotum
8 years ago

Coach Shoulberg has devoted his entire life to swimming and Germantown Academy. Germantown Academy owes him more than this!

GAAC graduate
8 years ago

I cannot so clearly state what David has already spoken. Coach Shoulberg was one of the best. He grew great people, not just great athletes. The ripples of his gift touched so so many. I wish him all the best.

David Berkoff
8 years ago

The richest people in life are those who influence and mold the next generation to be great. Shoulberg, you are like a second father to me. You have taught me to be respectful, honest, moral, and to push myself to levels that I never knew existed. You are the greatest mentor I could have ever hoped for in life. In my eyes you are the richest man in the world. I love you coach!

Reply to  David Berkoff
8 years ago

David, you speak for thousands of swimmers, coaches, and families across the world. If you were to line up the people whose lives Coach Shoulberg has impacted, the line would be miles long.

Thank you, Coach!

8 years ago

Best wishes to Coach Shoulberg. Amazing dude. Hulk sad.

Reply to  Hulk Swim
8 years ago

Shoulberg is the best and I wish him the best…..and to the team he LOVES…the best too

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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