Matt Rankin was announced as the new head coach of the Phoenix Swim Club today on their website after two weeks of speculation that he might be in line to replace Coley Stickels.
The club is one of the largest and most successful in the state of Arizona and has had a tumultuous few days; earlier this week, a letter was sent out to faculty that Brophy Prep, the school that owns the pool that Phoenix Swim Club’s uses, had sold the land the pool was on to a developer. That means that the club, while already having a new coach, will still be searching for a new training ground.
Brophy Prep is in the process of designing a pool that would be on its campus to house their State Championship squad, but it’s yet unclear if the Phoenix Swim Club will be a part of that new arrangement. The current facility won’t be closed until the new pool is opened.
Rankin comes to the club from the cross-town Westside Silver Fins, where he was previously the head coach. He has strong PSC ties though; he had previously coached with the Phoenix Swim Club in both a Masters and Age Group role. His brother, Mark Rankin, is currently the head Masters Coach at the Phoenix Swim Club as well, and his sister-in-law Maureen is an age group coach there.
Matt Rankin was named the 2008 Arizona Swimming Senior Coach of the Year. Among his more well-known trainees at the Westside YMCA is Cal All-American Tyler Messerschmidt, Virginia Freshman Chris Webb, and 14 year old stand out Amy Bilquist.
This move was not an uncontroversial one; the Phoenix Swim Club’s most famous trainee, Olympic gold medalist Roland Schoeman, voiced his displeasure in a letter to the Board of Directors last week in an email where he pointed out that Stickels helped him drop half-a-second in his 50 free.
Stickels first rose to fame at the Lake Oswego Swim Club, where he coached 7 National Age Group Record breakers and was named the ASCA National Age Group Coach of the Year in 2007. He was known for taking a very Dave-Salo-esque low-volume, high intensity approach to training at the club level.