Michael Brooks Named Head Coach of the King Aquatic Club

Jeff Grace
by Jeff Grace 68

July 31st, 2017 News

Michael Brooks has been named the Head Coach of the King Aquatic Club. Brooks, who has been with the North Carolina Aquatic Club and part of the UNC coaching staff for the past year, will be moving west to start the new position in September.

Since beginning his coaching career over 20 years ago in Salt Lake City Brooks has had several successful stops at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the Brophy East Swim Team and the York YMCA. He has he has been the Coach of the Meet at the YMCA National Championships four times, Middle Atlantic Senior Coach of the Year twice, and Maryland Age Group Coach of the Year twice.

His swimmers have raced to 50 plus YMCA national titles and over two hundred national Top 16 and Top 10 rankings.

“Michael’s skills as a coach represent a lifetime of mastering the art of coaching,” said King’s CEO and Program Director Sean Hutchison. “His habit of learning, in the effort of getting better, is unmatched in the sport. This is evidenced by the success his athletes had from a very small program at York YMCA.”

“Who else has taken a club of under 100 athletes to become a gold medal club?”

Brooks was attracted to the position because of his relationship and tremendous respect for Hutchison, “I’ve known, liked and respected Sean Hutchison for a long time, so I’m looking very forward to swapping notes with him daily and working together for the same goals,” said Brooks.

“I think we share common priorities in swimming and coaching, yet we approach them from different directions and with different and complementary skill sets.  The combination will, I think, be devastatingly effective.”

“I see King as one of the rare programs where technique is valued correctly: as the foundation of high performance.  King has a very strong staff of coaches, and I look forward to working with them to find the best ways to slingshot swimmer development.”

Although Brooks is extremely excited about the new opportunity he will miss many of the people he has been able to develop relationships with over the last year in North Carolina, “I’ve really enjoyed working with the  “Blue group” this past year, getting to know a wonderful group of young achievers.  And of course, Chapel Hill is officially the “Southern part of heaven”.  At UNC I’ve tried to take advantage of the resources (human) that the school has to offer:  a lot of really smart people who are or can be convinced to become interested in helping me improve my thinking and the swimming program.”

On top of his coaching accomplishments Brooks wrote the book Developing Swimmers, which was published by Human Kinetics in 2011.

The King Aquatic Club, which has multiple sites in the Seattle area, is currently a USA Swimming Silver Medal Club with team members competing at both the 2017 World University Games and Junior World Championships later this month.

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Yeeters
5 years ago

Not sure what the administration at KING is thinking considering the swimmers Doug Djang is producing. While Brooks may be a great coach, Djang produces elite results and has created many outstanding athletes. Looking at the extensive team KING brought to Olympic Trials last summer, how many top 50 swims they have, and the NAG records they have held all support his coaching ability. Adding an unknown factor like Brooks into Djang’s process doesn’t seem like an intelligent move by whomever made the decision.

PNS Swim
Reply to  Yeeters
5 years ago

You obviously are unaware of what is actually produced by Doug and what is produced in other areas of the program. Most of the NAGS are not products of Djang. The drop from Gold Medal Club to Silver Medal Club can be attributed to what has occurred under Doug’s “Leadership”. The change is worth a shot.

Kingnationalgroup
Reply to  PNS Swim
5 years ago

@pnsswim your comment, “most NAGS are not the products of doug Djang” is not correct. The 200 freestyle that the 15-18 boys held was comprised of swimmers all developed by doug. Thomas anderson’s NAGS as well can all be attributed to Doug. Mathias oh has also had near NAG swims that has been developed by doug. So to say that doug hasn’t produced good swimmers is grossly inaccurate. You need to have personally experienced doug to see how much he cares about his swimmers. He establishes an intense culture, that is not suitable for the feeble-minded.

None
Reply to  Kingnationalgroup
5 years ago

Thomas Anderson’s NAGs were under Ken Spencer. Much credit is due to him as well (and Keith) for development of many of the swimmers listed by waffle. Developing swimmers is a long process and team effort.

PNS Swim
Reply to  Kingnationalgroup
5 years ago

Oh I am correct. Many more NAGS have come from outside of the King National Group. I like that you give Doug credit for “Near” NAG Records. Ethan Dang, Tyler Lu, 11-12 relay NAGS, 13-14 Relay NAGS all outside of Djang. Thomas Anderson Nag with Ken Spencer, but you can hang on to that 200 free relay NAG, that I believe was broken.

Kingnationalgroup
Reply to  PNS Swim
5 years ago

As a swimmer of in one of those NAGs, I can assure you that Ken had very little to do with those NAGs. Thomas swam for Ken for less than a year

Fellowswimmer
Reply to  Kingnationalgroup
5 years ago

Just a little advice. When posting as “kingnationalgroup” and saying you are a swimmer on the nag relay, you have just narrowed it down to only a few swimmers. I think it’s great that you think you are standing up for a coach that you admire, but you are making the other 3 look bad plus the team. If you are going to stand up for Doug in this way, i would do it individually and not try to speak for everyone on that relay or for the king national group. OR avoid getting into a debate in the comment section of swimswam.

coach1
Reply to  Kingnationalgroup
5 years ago

Independent of any times/achievements, I can’t help but be concerned when a club coach is described as ” establishing an intense culture, that is not suitable for the feeble-minded.” I immediately think of movies like whiplash or varsity blues, where the students are bullied into thinking the only path to success is through an unhealthy environment. That culture also does not sound very inviting especially for a youth team, where I personally believe the role of coaches is to enable athletes to become mentally stronger and not to label those who might disagree with them as lacking intelligence.

HuhhhhhWOW
Reply to  Yeeters
5 years ago

Yeeters has _ _ _ _

Former York Swimmer
5 years ago

I swam for Michael Brooks almost ten years… If you want to be challenged, mentally and physically, he will absolutely give you everything you need to succeed at a high level while maintaining a championship mindset. I’ve never met someone who cares about swimming as much as this man. Any team is lucky to have him.

J.jjjjjjj
5 years ago

It takes time and passion to develop and sustain a team. There have been countless hours put in by the current head coaching staff and they have gained a real strong, loving, and family oriented team. A great team is not made by simply making a coaching addition, a great team is made with time, passion, and getting involved in each individual swimmers lives. The staff at King is superb at this, it is a loving way of coaching that few coaches have, I wish the best of luck to Brooks, but it will take time for the team to grow further as the trust must grow first.

SwimSwammer
5 years ago

The sheer number and intensity of the posts in this comment thread tell quite a story, especially if you compare it to the other coach related announcements on Swim Swam (yes, I’ve looked!). It feels a lot like our country’s political climate, actually. An announcement dripping with positivity and hope about a hire on a club, with the people on the ground at each club reading it with their mouths gaping open because it doesn’t remotely reflect reality. I suspect that Sean and Brooks are the only ones who hold the sentiment intended to be felt with this announcement, which seems to be “great coach hired by strategic mastermind King owner”. For me, similar words come to mind when I… Read more »

Winkingwaffle
5 years ago

@swimmom

Fantastic swimmers Doug Djang has coached:
Mathias Oh
Dillon Virva
Thomas Anderson
Ashley Sutherland
Kevin Dang
Daniel Roy
Ethan Dang
Mariah Lindsey
Chelsea Bailey
Morgan Ginnis
Kyndal Phillips
Robert Hughes

Along with multiple NAG record relays and constant age group top ten ranking age group swims. There is a reason a lot of his former swimmers come back to train with him. He is a fantastic and innovative coach who has brought much success to everyone he comes in contact with.

HuhhhhhWOW
Reply to  Winkingwaffle
5 years ago

Preach

PNS parent
Reply to  Winkingwaffle
5 years ago

A lot of those kids got into Doug’s group after having success with their age group coaches. Ethan swam for a different coach most of his tenure at King. Dillion Virva only joined King after college. Daniel Roy only joined King less than a year ago and he rarely trains with them.

Swimmom
Reply to  PNS parent
5 years ago

Don’t forget that Tommy Hannan was developing a lot of those talents as previous National coach

Dangkingfan
Reply to  Swimmom
5 years ago

@swimmom Tommy hannan didn’t produce the time drops that doug Djang has. Doug has taken more people to Olympic trials, world champ trials, and juniors than any other king coach has. Get your facts right, please.

Swimmer1234
Reply to  Winkingwaffle
5 years ago

And don’t forget:
Zach Wagner
James Scott

swimmer123
5 years ago

While NCAC was not perfect before the arrival of coach Brooks, the events since his arrival show a complete lack of competence in running a swim program. He did not let any of the coaches have autonomy over their own practice groups and was very difficult to work with, leading to 3 longtime and very skilled coaches leaving. His personality and attitude favored the top swimmers and left others unhappy and frustrated. NCAC was not perfect before Brooks came and there were things that could have been improved. I wouldn’t go so far as to say there was a cultural problem, the cultural problem came after Brooks arrived when the elitism preached by Brooks caused many swimmers to quit in… Read more »

SafeTravels
Reply to  swimmer123
5 years ago

I agree with you overall but disagree on NCAC culture. Prior to Brooks, there were pockets of amazing and caring coaches that carried the load, but the culture pushed from the top was a toxic one that put Brooks on the back foot from the start. Hopes were he could turn it around and do any of what he espoused in his book in building a culture of excellence but those were just words on paper.

NCSwimParent
5 years ago

In defense of Coach Brooks at NCAC, he came into a situation where the culture was already problematic and there was a lack of effective leadership. If you look at the results for 2017 NC LC JO’s from a couple of weeks ago, there were a lot of swimmers in the top 8 who were former NCAC swimmers and who had left before Coach Brooks arrived. In the couple of years before Brooks’ arrival, NCAC was growing in size and shrinking in quality.
It is also my understanding that Coach Brooks came from a situation at York where there was an effective system in place and parents largely ran the ship. At NCAC he encountered parents who had been… Read more »

AAAA
Reply to  NCSwimParent
5 years ago

This analysis is pretty close to being spot on.

Formerswimmer
Reply to  NCSwimParent
5 years ago

Isn’t that the role of the head coach? To encourage/establish a better culture. Can’t just always blame it on the circumstances. It’s easy to place the blame on the people before you. And if the culture was so problematic before where it limited Brooks, then it sounds like he didn’t do his homework before committing to being a head coach of NCAC. Unless he was lied to by everyone on the club before his hire, maybe he should have put more research into the past culture of the team and not commit in the first place or not give up after a year. Maybe he is a decent coach, but sounds like he is lacking as a head coach. From… Read more »

NWSWIMFAN
5 years ago

It was time for KING to shake things up. As long as I have been in the swimming world KING has always been a gold medal club. Under the current coaching staff they have been a silver medal club the last two years. To me that seems pretty obvious that the current leadership and development of swimmers has not been working. I welcome new leadership.

big PNS fan
Reply to  NWSWIMFAN
5 years ago

As a PNS fan, it would be nice to see King get back to a gold medal club and maybe this change will help. However, it would be even better to see multiple clubs in the PNS be gold medal clubs. It seems like PNS as a whole needs to get a lot better.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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