Sue Chen, the coach best known for her coaching of multiple-time National Age Group Record holder Jack Conger, is leaving the Rockville-Montgomery coaching staff to join Machine Aquatics, the team announced today. She joins the team as they expand northward, and will take over the University of Maryland site that is set to kick off in April of 2013.
“Sue Chen brings a new level of expertise to our coaching staff,” said Dan Jacobs, owner of Machine Aquatics. “Her experience in developing young swimmers into nationally ranked athletes will be an asset to our swimmers and coaches. We are thrilled to have her join our staff.”
Chen had been at Rockville-Montgomery, a municipally-owned club, for the last 20 years, making this move all the more surprising. The timing seems to fit well, however, with Conger leaving to join the University of Texas next season.
Though there are only a small handful of teams around the country that can boast a swimmer of the level of Conger, but there is a reason that Machine Aquatics is expanding: they’ve had a lot of good success themselves in Northern Virginia. Jacobs is the head coach (he owns the team along with his wife Paris), and has developed a very successful, USA Swimming silver-medal club. Among the better-known swimmers in recent years include sub-55 second butterflier Hellen Moffitt, former Clemson All-American Michelle Parkhurst, and 2013 Cal commit Abigail Speers.
There’s a few interesting things going on here. One is Chen, who had been at Rockville-Montgomery for so long, leaving to open her own site with Machine Aquatics, a coach-run club. The other is the expansion of yet another multi-site, multi-state, mega club in the D.C. Metroplex. Still more is the fact that Machine Aquatics will be renting the pool of the University of Maryland: a school which recently cut its swimming program despite having a huge, new, beautiful facility.
Feel free to discuss any of the above.