Southern California swim club Mission Viejo is breaking new ground this spring, hiring on 6-time Turkish Olympian Derya Buyukuncu as the program’s new sprint coach. Head coach Mark Schubert broke the news to SwimSwam Wednesday, noting his excitement to bring Buyukuncu on board.
“This is something new for us,” Schubert said. “We’re really excited with this hire. It’s going to add a whole new dynamic to the program.”
Mission Viejo has produced a large number of elite national- and international-level swimmers, the vast majority of them in distance or mid-distance races. The list of notable Mission Viejo Nadadore alums stretches back to at least the 1970s. That list includes Brian Goodell, Mary T. Meagher, Shirley Babashoff and Jesse Vassallo. More recently, Mission Viejo produced distance stars Ashley Twichell, Chloe Sutton and Chad La Tourette along with open water star Fran Crippen and 200 flyer Katie McLaughlin.
But Buyukuncu will now head up a sprint contingent for the team. Schubert says Buyukuncu will work alongside him with the club’s national group, for its older swimmers. Buyukuncu already started coaching the team at the beginning of this week.
Mission Viejo is currently in transition between longtime head coach Bill Rose and Schubert, who returns to the club after coaching there in the 1970s and 1980s. Rose will coach until the end of this year before retiring, and Schubert will coach alongside him for 2017 and continue in the head coach role after that.
Buyukuncu was the first swimmer to compete in 6 consecutive Olympics. Both he and Lars Frolander completed that feat in 2012 after competing at the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He was a backstroker, winning World and European Championships bronze medals in the 100 back in 2000. He also competed for the University of Michigan in the mid-90s.
Buyukuncu has previously been coaching. He was listed among the coaches at the Gators Swim Club in southern California as recently as last week.