Mark Schubert wasn’t out of swimming for long after his ‘retirement’ from Mission Viejo, which officially took effect last week.
On Friday, Saddleback El Toro Swim Team (SET) in Southern California has announced a new partnership with Schubert to lead a new elite swim training group. The team will sit within the structure of the SET program, but will have its own branding and be separate from the SET age group development program. The new elite training group will be a tryout based program, and athletes will be ‘evaluated based on ability’ for acceptance into the program.
Two-time water polo Olympian, and two-time swimming Olympic gold medalist, Brad Schumacher, director of SET Aquatics, said: “Tim Teeter, SET Swim Executive Director, was hired to take SET Swim to the next level. The foundation, strategic planning, and vision has created to hire the best in the industry.
“Mark Schubert is recognized nationally, and to work directly on the development of an elite environment is directly in line with our 5 year strategic plan. Our mission is to provide the resources necessary for elite athletes to reach the next level, and Mark is a foundational piece of our strategic plan.
“We are excited to have Coach Schubert join the SET family, he will be an intergral part of continuing our growth and development.”
Schubert announced his retirement from Mission Viejo, where in his current stint he has coached for 5 years, in September, as the club was preparing to hire a new executive director to oversee all of their programs. After originally planning to stay until the end of the year, he wound up leaving deck last week instead, the same week as diving coach Michele Mitchel was hired to fill that executive director role.
“I am very excited to have been given the opportunity by Olympian Bradley Schumacher and coach Tim Teeter to develop an Elite Training Group,” Schubert said. “The purpose of the group will be to develop Junior and Senior National swimmers who aspire to compete at the highest collegiate and international competitions. This will be the cream of the crop!”
In late August it was announced that Schubert was resigning from his position on the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Board of Directors one year early, citing “personal reasons.”
The group will train out of El Toro High School, which has an outdoor 50 meter pool. El Toro High School is less than 5 miles from the Marguerite Aquatic Center where Mission Viejo trains, meaning that it wouldn’t be much of a trip for any of Schubert’s former Mission Viejo swimmers to join his training group.
During his first stint in Mission Viejo, Schubert coached a small army of Olympians that included Shirley Babashoff, Brian Goodell, Mike O’Brien, Sippy Woodhead and Dara Torres, winning 44 national team titles and multiple ASCA Coach of the Year awards.
He then moved to the Mission Bay Makos Swim Team in Florida for a few years before jumping into collegiate coaching, leading the University of Texas women to a pair of NCAA team titles in 1990 and 1991. He followed up by coaching the University of Southern California women to their first-ever national title in 1997.
During Schubert’s career, his swimmers won 49 individual NCAA titles to go along with a trio of team titles.
At the Olympics, Schubert was first named an assistant coach of the combined men’s and women’s teams in 1980, and after serving as an assistant at the next two Games, he was named the head women’s coach in 1992 after his back-to-back NCAA titles in Austin. He was again an assistant in 1996 before being named head men’s coach in 2000 and head women’s coach in 2004.
Along with the swimmers he coached to the Olympics while at Mission Viejo, Schubert also led names such as Brad Bridgewater, Janet Evans, Lindsay Benko, Lenny Krayzelburg, Klete Keller, Erik Vendt, Jessica Hardy, Larsen Jensen, Ous Mellouli and Kaitlin Sandeno to the Games.
In total, Schubert’s athletes have won at least 20 Olympic medals (including 12 gold medals), broken at least 21 World Records, and broken at least 97 American Records.
After leaving USC in 2006 to take over as National Team Director, Schubert took a paid leave of absence from the role in September 2010 before ultimately being terminated from the position.
Schubert and USA Swimming signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement. According to a report from the OC Register in 2018, the late Chuck Wielgus, former USA Swimming CEO, said in a deposition that Schubert was terminated for “erratic behavior,” particularly at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championship in Irvine.
Schubert went on to become the CEO and head coach at Golden West Swim Club in California before landing at Mission Viejo again five years ago.
While at Golden West Swim Club Schubert got into a legal scuffle after a former Golden West coach, Dia Rianda, sued him for wrongful termination, saying she was fired after she complained to USA Swimming about inappropriate behavior by a different coach, Bill Jewell. Jewell was eventually banned by USA Swimming for three years, and the suit between Rianda and Schubert was settled out of court.
In 2016, Schubert succeeded longtime Nadadore head coach Bill Rose, who announced his retirement earlier that year. The club is currently interviewing to hire an executive director to oversee all of their programs, including swimming, diving and water polo.
Some of the prominent swimmers who have represented Mission Viejo in recent years include 2020 U.S. Olympians Michael Brinegar, Zach Apple, Haley Anderson and Annie Lazor, along with 2021-22 U.S. National Teamers Will Gallant and David Heron, though in some of those cases, the representation did not reflect the athletes’ regular training sites. Schubert also trained a number of Chinese swimmers while he was the head coach at Mission Viejo.
Brad Schumacher is the president of Kap7, a SwimSwam partner.