Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
With U.S. Nationals still to come, the month of June has already been a banner one for Cal men’s coach Dave Durden.
In the water, Durden has coached three different men to the top U.S. time of the month in four different events. Two of those belong to Ryan Murphy, who is protecting his world backstroke throne with an iron fist since winning Olympic gold last summer. Murphy was 53.4 and 1:57.0 at the Pro Swim Series in Santa Clara, leading all U.S. men for the month. That 100 back time is a season-best, and Murphy now sits just outside the top 5 in the world ranks in both backstrokes before running through his taper.
It’s worth noting that Murphy’s Cal and Olympic teammate Jacob Pebley also ranks in the top 5 Americans this month in both backstrokes from his Santa Clara swims.
Durden has also coached the remarkably-consistent Nathan Adrian to a pair of top-2 times among American men this month. Adrian was 48.55 in Santa Clara for the fastest 100 free of any U.S. man, and his 22.27 is just five one-hundredths out of the month’s lead in the 50 free.
Then there’s Josh Prenot, who had the fastest 200 breast of any American this month with a 2:10.80 in Santa Clara. He still leads all Americans this season with his 2:09.9 earlier this spring.
And even lesser-known names seem to be flourishing under Durden. Michael Jensen shot into the ranks of relay contenders in the 100 freestyle in Santa Clara, going a lifetime-best 49.35.
And as a nice cherry on top of a stellar month, Durden also pulled an early verbal commitment from the #1-ranked swimmer in the high school class of 2018 – Junior World Champs silver medalist Reece Whitley.
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