8-time Olympic swimming coach Mark Schubert is taking a temporary leave of absence from The Swim Team (TST), his new Southern California “elite training group.” His absence is expected to last for 6 months, during which time he will take a position in China.
Schubert launched the squad last year in connection with Saddleback El Toro Swim Team after retiring from nearby Mission Viejo.
The Chinese federation is known to hire high-profile foreign coaches and pay them large sums of money to coach Chinese athletes – either in China, or in their home countries. Schubert faced tension while he was the head coach of Mission Viejo over his coaching of Chinese athletes in Mission Viejo’s facilities.
Schubert will continue working with the group as technical director and consultant, while his on deck coaching position will be back-filled with coaches already on the team. According to a release:
In conjunction with this leave of absence, The Swim Team has promoted two of its highly skilled coaches. Fernando Soraggi, Jr., who has coached along Coach Schubert for a number of years, will assume the Head Coaching position. Fernando has extensive experience in the sport of swimming and nearly 5 years of working with Coach Schubert makes him well prepared to lead our National Group and club during this time.
Additionally, Savannah DuPuis, has been promoted to Associate Head Coach. Savannah has been the and will continue to be the primary coach for the PreNational and Senior Groups and will continue to assist with the National Group. Savannah has shown in her tenure with The Swim Team that she is a rising star in the coaching community and The Swim Team is excited to have her continue to guide our swimmers.
The program’s executive director Tim Teeter says that spending time in China was always an option when the club brought in Schubert to launch its pro group.
The two highest-profile names to have joined Schubert’s group are Justina Kozan, who trained under him at Mission Viejo previously, and Michael Brinegar, who announced after the NCAA season that he would turn pro early and train with Schubert in California. Kozan is a member of the USA Swimming National Team, while Brinegar represented the US at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Brinegar didn’t swim at the recent US International Team Trials, but Kozan did. Her best finish was 7th in the 400 IM, and she was slower than her personal best times in all three races she swam. Kozan is a high school senior and is committed to swim at USC beginning next fall, where Schubert was formerly the head coach.
Other members of the group include Anders Aistars, David Johnston (Texas), Isaac Flieg, Humberto Najera, Kai Van Westering (France), and Jaden Ficklen (Puerto Rico).
Schubert was the USA Swimming National Team head coach from 2006 until 2010. He was also previously the head coach at USC and the University of Texas. He served as a member of the US Olympic Team staff at the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympic Games. He also led the Mission Viejo Nadadores to 9 national team titles in his first stint with the club, and coached swimmers like Janet Evans, Shirley Babashoff, Brian Goodell, Mike O’Brien, Sippy Woodhead Kaitlin Sandeno, Jessica Hardy, Larsen Jensen, Erik Vendt, Lindsay (Benko) Mintenko, Ous Mellouli, and Dara Torres,