Paul Murphy Hired as New Head Coach for Bloomington Normal Swim Club

Paul Murphy has been hired as the new head coach for Bloomington Normal Swim Club, in Bloomington-Normal, IL. Murphy joins BNSC following a short stint as the head coach of Dayton Raiders, in Dayton, OH. SwimSwam reported in April that Murphy had left Dayton Raiders in early March after having been hired as the head coach in August of 2022, marking a tenure of about seven months with the team. Neither the club nor Murphy responded to SwimSwam’s requests for comment about the split.

About three months after departing from Dayton Raiders, Murphy has landed a new head coaching position, this time in Central Illinois. BNSC operates out of Bloomington-Normal, IL, which is in the heart of state, approximately 130 miles south of Chicago, 160 miles northwest of St. Louis, and 170 miles west of Indianapolis. The club had been searching for a new head coach since their previous coach, Matt Elliott, an SEC Champion and NCAA All-American for Florida, took a job as the head coach of Brownsburg Swim Club and the Brownsburg High School teams in Brownsburg, IN.

Murphy arrives at BNSC with a bevy of coaching experience and success. He is an ASCA Level 5 coach (the highest level which can be reached), has coached 70+ Olympic Trials qualifiers, 5 Olympians, more than 40 High School All-Americans, several state champions, and swimmers who went on to achieve 35 CSCAA All-America awards.

For further context, to become an ASCA Level 5 coach, you must achieve at least one of the following:

  • On USA Swimming International Coaches List/1 athlete on national team roster /2 national junior team roster. Must be on the official rosters recognized by USA Swimming.

  • Or 10 USA National Top 8 Finalists.

  • Or Placing 2 swimmers in the Top 4 or 4 in the Top 8 in the Open Water 5K or 10K National Championships

Per his bio on the BNSC website, Murphy is also an original member of the World Swimming Coaches Association, as well as a member of the International Swimming Coaches Association. Murphy began his coaching career in 1981.

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3 months ago

Coach Murphy is a nice person but not a great coach, his one size fits all coaching style kills all specialization in the pool. Heading into my senior year as a distance swimmer I was extremely disappointed to see our distance group dissolve and be denied the proper distance training we needed. I never dropped in the 500 again after his training program and he failed me as a coach. I am shocked teams are still allowing this type of coaching because it had destroyed programs like the Dayton Raiders…

3 months ago

Having coached five Olympians is impressive. Can anyone tell me who these five Olympic swimmers were?

Reply to  Buckeyeboy
3 months ago


Reply to  Buckeyeboy
3 months ago

I’m sure Paul Murphy is reading this, so why doesn’t he “enlighten” us, or better yet, maybe someone from the BNSC board or search committee “enlighten” us?

Reply to  Buckeyeboy
3 months ago

I suppose you could count coaching an all-star team, or zone select camp or something, where a participant went on to become an Olympian. Does it even have to be a U.S. Olympian? I’m sure there are many mid-major and D2-3 coaches who have coached Olympians from smaller countries.

3 months ago

he’s a major reason towards why West Coast Aquatics in San Jose was shut down. I swam under him when he was head coach there in 2018, and I’ve watched him bounce around the country as head coach of over four teams since.

New Age Outlaws
3 months ago

There’s no way those are the only 3 ways to become ASCA Level 5 certified

Reply to  New Age Outlaws
3 months ago

The whole ASCA level, like other ASCA programs and policies, were implemented by John Leonard to personally enrich himself. This fraud later came to fruition when, in advance of his “retirement”, he systematically drained the ASCA bank account & ran off with a huge chunk of assets. Back then I’m 100% sure, since it was all about the $, a coach could submit an application to attain a higher level, pay the fees and then be granted a higher level without any due diligence being done by Leonard or his staff. I know the ASCA staff and leadership is trying to do better now, but I still have a problem that ASCA never took civil or criminal action against Leonard… Read more »

3 months ago

If anyone from BNSC is reading this, it’s not too late to reverse it.

Reply to  Coachymccoachface
1 month ago

Betcha he tanks BNSC. Club killer

Mike Jones
3 months ago

Whatever happened with Mike westphal

Reply to  Mike Jones
3 months ago

Moved to Oregon with his family.

3 months ago

Love the fact that teams keep hiring him. I’ll set the over/under for how long he stays at 6 months. What a freaking joke.

Reply to  Aquajack
3 months ago

As a member of bnsc, I say under

Swim coach
3 months ago

Do hiring committees consider there to be a difference between “coached” or “developed” elite level swimmers?

Reply to  Swim coach
3 months ago

If you go back and look at Murphy’s history, he has manipulated the ASCA levels and the very question you brought up.