Veteran Jonty Skinner has retired from coaching, he told SwimSwam in a statement Tuesday.
Skinner was named associate head coach at Indiana University last spring after the program had lost three of its support staff under head coach Ray Looze after the 2018-19 NCAA season. Skinner said he had planned to retire after last season, which is also when his former boss at Alabama — Dennis Pursley — retired, but that Looze recruited him.
“I was essentially retired last May with plans to write a book about Brain Training for Swimming until Ray recruited me to work in Bloomington,” Skinner wrote. “The culture in the IU program is exemplary and there were no end of teaching opportunities in the program. Since I love teaching as much as I enjoy coaching it was fun. The kids in the program are awesome, and I’ve really enjoyed helping them understand the sport of swimming in a way that allows them to take ownership over who they are and what they do. However, I’ve been coaching for 45 years and few months ago I asked myself how many of those 45 years was I off for more than a week or 2 weeks at any one time. The answer was hardly ever. When I faced that fact I knew it was time to start that book. I’m extremely thankful for my short stint in Indiana and although my departure isn’t super timely, we’ve both benefited from the experience.”
Skinner, 65, is a decorated veteran of the sport with ample head coaching experience. His last stint at Alabama as senior associate head coach was his third with the program; Skinner joined the school as an assistant coach after graduating in 1977, returned as associate head coach and then head coach in the late ’80s, and held his last position there for seven years.
After his first stint with the Tide, Skinner coached the San Jose Aquatics Club to a USA Senior National team championship and five USA Junior National team titles. Under Purley’s watch as director of the USA National team in 1994, Skinner was chosen as Skinner as the inaugural coach of USA Swimming’s Resident National Team, then spent the next eight years as USA Swimming’s director of performance science and technology. From 2009-2012, he worked in a similar capacity for British Swimming.
As a swimmer, the South Africa-native Skinner held the 100 free world record from 1976-1981 and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985.
Indiana’s remaining paid coaching staff consists of assistant coaches Cory Chitwood, Emily Eaton and John Long. After last season, assistant Kirk Grand moved to Colorado, associate head sprint coach Coley Stickels replaced Pursley at Alabama, assistant Caitlin Hamilton became the new head coach at Illinois State, and associate head coach Mike Westphal was fired in September after being arrested on intimidation charges.
SwimSwam has reached out to Indiana for further information.