Sandpipers of Nevada head coach Ron Aitken has been spotted on deck at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Aitken was not named to the official U.S. Olympic swim team staff after the U.S. Olympic Trials, even though three of his swimmers made the team: distance specialists Erica Sullivan, Katie Grimes, and Bella Sims. This raised eyebrows, especially given that two of the swimmers are very young amid a staff of coaches that primarily work with collegiate and professional swimmers, but USA Swimming and the USOPC managed to get him to Tokyo afterall.
He was also the youth coach of Bowe Becker who was on the gold-medal-winning 4×100 free relay alongside Blake Pieroni who represents the Sandpipers in national competitions but has not regularly trained there.
He has been seen on deck standing with the other U.S. Olympic swim coaches during the meet and coaching swimmers. We reached out to USA Swimming staff to confirm Aitken’s specific role in Tokyo, but they have not responded. This is not the first time that a coach has been added to the Olympic staff in an unannounced and ambiguous role – Yuri Suguiyama, then a Cal assistant and now the Wisconsin head coach, was with the U.S. team in Rio, though he was never actually listed as a member of the staff.
This means Aitken was on deck to see Sullivan win silver in the first-ever women’s 1500 free Olympic final, completing a 1-2 USA finish behind Katie Ledecky.