Disclaimer: In the interest of transparency, one of this site’s owners is an employee of the Phoenix Swim Club. He, however, contributed in no way to this report.
Within a week of handing in his resignation at the Phoenix Swim Club, Coley Stickels has been hired at the Canyons Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita, California.
This is a position that was left open when Jeff Conwell left in October to take over the Palm Springs Piranhas.
Stickels recently parted ways with the Phoenix Swim Club after apparent friction with the parent board over out-of-the-pool issues led to an irreparable situation. While with the club, though, there was no doubt about his production of top-level swimmers. That includes athletes like Keaton Blovad, who at only 13 was the youngest swimmer at this summer’s Olympic Trials.
Stickels’ swimming career culminated at the University of Arizona, where he was a 14-time All-American, and NCAA silver medalist, and a three-time USA Swimming National Team member.
That’s exactly where his coaching career began: another big name from the Frank Busch coaching tree. He worked with the university’s Masters program primarily before taking an assistant job at Dartmouth.
His club career kicked off at the Lake Oswego Swim Club, where he eventually turned it into one of the country’s top age group programs. They broke over 100 state records and the first 8 National Age Group Records under Stickels’ watch.
That led him to the Phoenix Swim Club, where in a short 16 months he helped build a national reputation for a club that has had many high-profile coaches, but for a time before Stickels took over had a few dry years.
Now, he will head to the Canyons Aquatic Club, where he takes over a program that has some history of big name swimmers like Jordan Danny, Nolan Koon, John Criste, and Anthony Ervin. His first major target is Abbey Weitzeil, a 16-year old who won the CA/Nevada Sectional Meet this past weekend with a 100 free time of 49.78.
Stickels could potentially bring with him a professional presence as well. He was a primary coach of South African Olympian Roland Schoeman while in Phoenix, and worked with other big-name swimmers like Jessica Hardy and Yuliya Efimova on mini-cycles.
For all of his success in the pool, however, a pall will remain over an inauspicious end in Phoenix, where he had so much success in the water, but the club still found a reason to separate from him. The Canyons Aquatic Club would seem satisfied with whatever explanation they received, though, as they made the hire regardless of what happened at the PSC.