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.
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)