Midwestern Swimming Legend Cal Bentz Passes Away

David Anderson Contributed to this report:

Cal Bentz passed today at his home in Lincoln, Nebraska – July 4th, 2017. Over the last week or so as Cal’s health began to deteriorate, many alumni and friends posted kind thoughts and reflections about this Midwestern swimming legend. Many of the notes recalled his humor, fiery competitiveness, thoughtfulness, caring and how much each owed to this coach. He was at the forefront of technology, the implementation of new ideas and he embraced speed and power.

Donations are being accepted here.

A selection of social media posts about Bentz are below:



Sad news today, as my college swim coach Cal Bentz passed away this morning. I didn't have an opportunity to swim for…

Posted by Rob Czeranko on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bentz’s bio from the Greater Nebraska Swim Team is below:

Coach Bentz had more than 50 years of coaching experience including 24 years as Head Coach of Swimming and Diving at the University of Nebraska; and 22 years as a high school coach, club coach and teacher. His collegiate men’s teams produced more than 100 NCAA All Americans and the women’s program produced more than 80 NCAA All Americans. Under Coach Bentz, Nebraska teams won 16 men’s conference titles and 5 women’s conference titles in swimming and diving. More than 20 Olympians from all over the world competed for Nebraska under Coach Bentz.

During his tenure at Omaha Westside High School, Coach Bentz’ boys and girls teams won 16 state championship titles. In 1976, the Omaha World Herald named Coach Bentz, “Nebraska High School Coach of the Year.” He was a long time member and past president of the Nebraska High School Coaches’ Association and in 1997 was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was inducted into the Westside High School’s Coaches’ Night of Distinction. In November 2008, he was inducted into the Midwestern Swimming Hall of Fame.

Coach Bentz was a four year letterman in swimming, team captain his junior and senior years and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1955. While coaching at Nebraska he was honored as an Alumnus of the Year and in 1992 he was presented the UNL Parents Association Recognition Award for Contribution to Students. Coach Bentz has coached and taught, provided competitive swimming camps and clinics in Nebraska and the Midwest for 54 years. He has worked extensively in fundamental swimming skill development, dry-land and core body strength development and seasonal, periodic and daily workout design. He has also served as a volunteer coach for the Kearney, Nebraska High School Swimming Team.

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Coach mary
5 years ago

Cal was truly one of nicest people I have ever had the honor to meet. He always had time for everyone and was just a very kind person. He loved swimming and was always available to help and encourage. Over the years he coached many outstanding swimmers. He was always positive and a joy to share and joke on the deck. God bless you Cal!

Justin Finney
5 years ago

Cal was like a second father to me during my time
at Nebraska and our friendship only got stronger once I retired from swimming. He truly was a one of a kind coach and mentor. He will be missed dearly by his entire Husker family.

Stan Crump
5 years ago

Sorry to hear this news! Heartfelt condolences to his family and his swimming family.

Ken Kirchhoff
5 years ago

Coach Cal Bentz. A gentleman and teacher and an inspiration to many swimmers ranging from the young kids at camps to those that became student-athletes at NU. Cal’s mentoring of club and high school coaches is not unnoticed either. My family and I have nothing but great memories and appreciation for this man. May you rest in peace. Your family should know how truly appreciated and respected you are.

Mark Diedrich
5 years ago

We lost a great one yesterday but were incredibly lucky to have been a part of Cal’s extended family. Which is many thousands. Prayers for his family and all that loved him.

Betty Kooy
5 years ago

Cal leaves an indelible imprint on Nebraska and Midwestern Swimming. He gave his expertise tirelessly to thousands of athletes, from the youngsters just beginning to those at the highest level of the sport. Sincere condolences to his family and his swimming family, for all those athletes were truly his family too. RIP, Cal.

Gardner Howland
5 years ago

A great coach and man, a true believer and contributor to our sport! That so many of his guys became successful coaches bears testimony to his impact and influence. Rest In Peace, Cal, we will remember you well.

Jeanne Fleck
5 years ago

Loved Cal one of the good guys who knew all the swimmers in the Big 8. Great memories of him!

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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