Competitor Coach of the Month: Joe Benjamin

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.

Joe Benjamin and his staff have developed the Rancho San Dieguito Swim Team into a very strong club across all age groups, and that was on display in May at the Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine.

The club, based out of Solano Beach, Calif., placed 3rd in the women’s team standings with 243.5 points as numerous swimmers established best times.

Leading the squad was Arielle Brotman, an 18-year-old Cal commit who earned second swims in all four of her events and set a new PB in the 100 breast.

Brotman was 11th in the 100 breast, touching in 1:11.88 after going a best of 1:11.80 in the prelims to drop more than a second from her previous PB of 1:12.98 set in April.

Brotman also swam to new season-bests in the 100 free (58.27) and 100 fly (1:02.33), and narrowly missed her best time in the 200 IM, clocking 2:22.46.

Aya Ferguson, 16, was also on fire, setting new best times in the 100 free (58.14) and 200 free (2:05.97), earning top 20 finishes in the competitive field.

Ferguson also picked up a Junior Nationals cut in the 200 free.

On the younger side, Rancho San Dieguito also got sizeable contributions from 12-year-olds Sammy Walseth and Chloe Yoon, who both scored over 100 points and combined for 10 podium finishes between the two of them.

For the boys, 12-year-old Tyler Douglas put up more than 100 points with best times in every event he swam, securing the High Point honors for the 11-12s.

Bekzhan Yessengeldy, 18, highlighted the older boys swimmers with a big best time in the 100 breast (1:05.49) and a top-eight finish in the 200 IM. They also had contributions come from Kevin Zheng and Darmen Yessengeldy.

Coach Benjamin has been building Rancho San Dieguito Swimming for nearly three decades, having been with the team since 1995. He won San Diego Imperial Swimming Senior Coach of the Year honors in 2018 and has produced numerous qualifiers for significant domestic meets from the Junior Olympics to the U.S. Olympic Trials.

About Competitor Swim

Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.

Competitor Swim is a SwimSwam partner. 

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Swim Dad
1 month ago

Congrats to Coach Joe Benjamin, entire RSD stuff and all the athletes! Woohoo 🙌 🎉 Let’s Go RSD!

1 month ago

Congratulations Coach Joe & RSD!

1 month ago

Probably should proof the story before publishing rather than after.

1 month ago

As someone who has swam for this club: It’s Solana Beach, CA. and Joe Benjamin

1 month ago

Benjamin or Ferguson ?!?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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