Coaches Ron Aitken and Brent Arckey Will Accompany US Olympic Team to Hawaii

Lindsay Mintenko, the managing director of the USA Swimming National Team division, says that the expansion of the U.S. coaching staff for the Olympics to include 8 assistants will not be the standard going forward.

“Unlike previous Games, we had credentials remaining in our allotment and chose to use them in the most efficient and beneficial way possible for the team,” Mintenko told SwimSwam on Monday in an email. “In this case, that allowed us to bring an additional two coaches to help our team navigate what is going to be the most unique Olympic Games ever, with a large team!”

The U.S. will take 50 pool swimmers (26 women and 24 men) to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. That’s bigger than recent teams, with 45 pool swimmers named to the team in 2016 and 47 pool swimmers named to the team in 2012.

There will be more pressure on the larger-than-normal staff, as the team won’t be accompanied to their first training camp in Hawaii by home coaches, which is the traditional practice. This means that the 10 pool coaches, plus 2 additional coaches in attendance (more on that later), will be responsible for on-deck training of all 50 athletes for 5 weeks, instead of the usual 2 (of course with input from their home coaches).

Also unusual this year is that athletes have the opportunity to go home, pack, and regroup before heading out to the training camp. Often, athletes have to leave directly from Trials to the Olympics, save for a few who live in geographically favorable places. While the rescheduled Olympic Trials moved them a week earlier in the cycle as compared to previous years, USA Swimming had a few extra days built in anyway – the original camp in 2020 was scheduled to begin in Palo Alto on July 5, which was the same week after the end of Trials.

Additional Hawaii Coaches

In addition to the 10 coaches formally named, the staff will be supported by two other coaches for the two-plus week portion of the camp in Hawaii.

Ron Aitken of the Sandpipers of Nevada and Brent Arckey who coaches the Sarasota Sharks will also attend the camp.

Aitken, the most controversial omission from the formal Olympic staff, directly coaches three swimmers who have qualified for the US team: distance swimmers Erica Sullivan, Katie Grimes, and Bella Sims. In addition, he was the youth coach of 4×100 free relay Olympian Bowe Becker, who represents the team at national meets but doesn’t currently train there. A 5th Olympian, Blake Pieroni in the men’s 400 free relay, represents the club in national competition but has never regularly trained there.

Arckey, meanwhile, is the coach of Emma Weyant, who won the women’s 400 IM at the Olympic Trials.

With a number of young pre-collegiate swimmers on the team this year, Aitken and Arckey’s experience working with age group and high school-aged swimmers will be crucial, especially with families not able to travel to Tokyo this year.

Normally, the camp is packed with home coaches, but this year, those numbers have been limited because of the ongoing pandemic. In this setting, Aitken and Arckey are not considered “home coaches,” though they are the home coaches of athletes on the team.

Training Camp Details

  • Training Camp 1 – June 27-July 12, 2021 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Training Camp 2 – July 13-19, 2021 – Tokyo, Japan
  • International Training (move into the Olympic Village) – July 21-23, 2021 – Tokyo, Japan
  • Olympic Games Opening Ceremony – July 23, 2021
  • Olympic Games – Swimming competition – July 24-August 1, 2021
  • Return home – August 2, 2021

Tokyo 2020 US Olympic Swimming Coaching Staff

  • Greg Meehan, Stanford – Head Women’s Coach (Pool)
  • Dave Durden, Cal – Head Men’s Coach (Pool)
  • Catherine Kase, Unattached – Head Coach (Open Water)
  • Peter Andrew, Michael Andrew Swim Academy – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Jack Bauerle, Georgia – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Bob Bowman, Arizona State – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Todd DeSorbo, Virginia – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Ray Looze, Indiana – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Teri McKeever, Cal – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Anthony Nesty, Florida – Assistant Coach (Pool)
  • Gregg Troy, Gator Swim Club – Assistant Coach (Pool)

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Dave
1 month ago

Good move, Ron Aitken should accompany his young swimmers to the Olympics. His very successful group is Very young and should have a familiar face during this very exciting time in their young lives.

coachymccoachface
1 month ago

Put him on the staff and take Andrew off

swimmer315
Reply to  coachymccoachface
1 month ago

It’s crazy how much hate MA and his team still gets even with his success. He has 3 events and should def have his coach there just as Dressel has his coach there for his 3 events.

Steve Friederang
Reply to  swimmer315
28 days ago

Troy had put more people on US Olympic Teams than Andrew ever will. Swimmers he has personally coached swept the freestyles at this Olympics! Andrew donated genetics — period. His swimmer is arguably the most gifted and poorly coached in history.

Alo
Reply to  coachymccoachface
1 month ago

Peter Andrew is one of the men’s assistants and put a 3-event qualifier/US record holder/multi-medal favorite on the team. Aitken still gets to go and coach the first leg of the trip. Why the hate?

Last edited 1 month ago by Alo
Steve Friederang
Reply to  Alo
28 days ago

No hate — I actually like Andrew as a home schooler and Christian myself. He’s raised a good young man. But, come on Aitken has spent a lifetime helping people fully express their talent. Andrew can’t even make a good breakout. But man does he have genetics!

Pvdh
Reply to  coachymccoachface
1 month ago

There’s no way Andrew can be off. He’s got the second most important swimmer on the men’s side.

WahooSwimFan
Reply to  Pvdh
1 month ago

Murphy is a contender for that spot too?

Caeleb’s left suit string
Reply to  WahooSwimFan
1 month ago

is he tho

Aquatics
1 month ago

Has an OW Assistant to Catherine been chosen yet?

ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

Unpopular Opinion: Club coaches create the foundation of all future college athletes. The only reason college coaches are praised is due to their “recruiting” of high-level talent that would be where there are today with their previous team.

This shows the lack of support and the obvious political gain college coaches have in the sport of swimming. There is a fine line between building talent and growing talent. ALL club coaches deserve more from USA Swimming. They deserve to be recognized for their dedication to their young athletes – especially when their athlete is named to the Olympic team.

Unfortunately, club coaches suffer consequences because they are seen as less than compared to their college counterparts. If resumes could be… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by ClubCoachSupporter
Guerra
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

This is not only a popular opinion but the right opinion. USA Swimming fails to recognize this. Or maybe they don’t want to recognize this. Clubs pay the bulk of the membership dues, splash fees, officials fees, FRAUDULENT insurance fees and COACHES fees to pay for the OVERPAID executive salaries. Coaches and clubs should complain about this and maybe organize a boycott in the payment of these fees until they get straightened out.

Last edited 1 month ago by Guerra
Coach
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

This is nothing new. Imagine having two attorneys on your leadership team with hefty salaries, but going for over a year without hiring a national junior team director (or even communicating to membership about the vacancy).

Coaches need to be present at the June 30th House of Delegates meeting.

Michael Lawrence
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Yes! The “required changes” will make club coaches irrelevant at all governance levels. Don’t get fooled again.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

How many club coaches have pro groups? How many of the likely medalists and relay members are pros? Pro groups = sponsorships and TV revenue. There’s money talking here; it’s not all just resumes.

Guerra
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

Considering Bob Bowman was accused, admitted to and was never punished by USA Swimming for sexual harassment via text messages, I think it’s highly inappropriate that he was named to this staff. Not only should USA Swimming lead by example, but if Bowman had any class, he would withdraw from consideration of being an Olympic team coach. He should go back to Arizona State University and try to actually do a good job there for once. After all, they do pay his salary. Unfortunately, the man thinks he can do, say and text whatever he wants and because he coached Michael Phelps, he’s bigger than the sport. Everyone on the banned list and people that have been suspended should be… Read more »

Coachy
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

The adding of assistants is funny since they claim it’s Bc of the large team. This just proves college coaches can’t coach more than 8 athletes at a time.

Coachy
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

Think about when they hired Mitch for National Junior Team. Nothing against him but a men’s only college Asst getting a job multiple top club coaches applied for. This is what they think of club coaches v college coaches.

Anonymous
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

I agree that Club Coaches should be recognized. I also observe what happens in my LSC and how the club kids will jump from one team to another quickly to group and form a powerhouse that will offer travel meet benefits and exposure to recruitment. I don’t agree that the majority of the club coaches developed the high level swimmers they have. I believe it was done by assistants and coaches of other teams that the kids jumped from. Looking back on our team from 4 years ago, there was only 1 or 2 of the top swimmers homegrown out of a group of 50.

Greg
Reply to  Anonymous
1 month ago

Where do the age group and pre-senior / pre-national group coaches fit into this discussion? In some scenarios, these coaches worked with the athlete longer than the head club coach and college coach. An argument can be made that these coaches are the true developers of the athlete.

IMO, it is a group effort that I am certain the athlete recognizes and communicates their appreciation to. Age group + pre-senior + national / senior + college = all contributors and a recipe that has served USA Swimming well for years. Each group has their defined focus, role and contribution in the ultimate performance and result.

Anonymous
Reply to  Greg
1 month ago

I agree with you – it’s a group effort – but not for the age group coaches that like to lean on the blocks and stare at their phone throughout the whole practice, having no clue what the young swimmers in that 8 lane pool are even doing 😉

Coach
Reply to  Greg
1 month ago

You have a very valid argument, but we are discussing the fact that the current coach of three club swimmers was not added to the Olympic staff.

Swamfan
Reply to  ClubCoachSupporter
1 month ago

Totally agree. I’ve heard Eddie Reese credit club coaches, but in general it’s rare to hear college coaches, USA swimming execs, Rowdy (*sigh*) etc give club coaches the credit they deserve

Guerra
1 month ago

Considering Bob Bowman was accused, admitted to and was never punished by USA Swimming for sexual harassment via text messages, I think it’s highly inappropriate that he was named to this staff. Not only should USA Swimming lead by example, but if Bowman had any class, he would withdraw from consideration of being an Olympic team coach. He should go back to Arizona State University and try to actually do a good job there for once. After all, they do pay his salary. Unfortunately, the man has a smug, arrogant and narcissistic attitude and thinks he can do, say and text whatever he wants. Everyone on the banned list and people that have been suspended should be complaining about this… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Guerra
So confused
1 month ago

If I was a parent of a minor child on the team I would struggle with this. At the very least if their club coach went I would have a point of contact I was familiar with. Luckily I don’t have to worry as my kids didn’t make the team but I feel bad for their parents.

Coachy
Reply to  So confused
1 month ago

You’re lucky your kids aren’t Olympians?

So confused
Reply to  Coachy
1 month ago

Absolutely!! Wouldn’t want my minor children so far away with no one they know.

Swamfan
Reply to  So confused
1 month ago

You realize the kids making the team are teenagers, not pre-schoolers right?

Melissa
1 month ago

Where is Mike Parratto in all this?

Coach
Reply to  Melissa
1 month ago

Applying for college jobs.

DIIIer
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

he’s turned down a bunch over the years, dont think he’s going that way

1he1ruth
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Word is he has already landed his new club role.

Riptide
Reply to  Melissa
1 month ago

Making plans to move to SwimMAC

Cali4nia
Reply to  Riptide
1 month ago

So once the Olympics are over and Regan moves to Stanford, Mike and Amy are jumping ship? I hope Mr Wise has some replacement coaches in the queue! That’s a lot of swimmers to leave hanging 😟

Serious Deal
1 month ago

I agree with the other poster – if I was a parent of a teen athlete I would be livid. Isn’t it against Safe Sport rules to not have parents/guardian travel with a minor? Why can’t they bring the personal coaches if they pay their own way? Our club has an athlete on the team and I would happily donate to a gofundme to send the coach along.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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