USA Swimming Restructures National Team, Unger/Mintenko to Lead

USA Swimming has elevated former U.S. Olympian Lindsay Mintenko to “oversee the National Team,” but have left her title as USA Swimming Managing Director. They have simultaneously restructured the technical side of the governing body for the sport in the United States. Mintenko is the first female senior executive to lead the organization’s National Team Division.

Mintenko has been a member of the National Team staff since 2006. She replaces Frank Busch, who retired effective October 1 after leading the National Team division since May 2011. Mintenko retains the title of “National Team Managing Director,” as compared to Busch’s title of “National Team Director.” Mintenko’s hiring is a deviation from recent National Team Directors, who have mostly come from the coaching world – although the role is largely an administrative position, which is where Mintenko’s experience lies on the dry side of the sport.

Meanwhile, all technical swimming parts of the organization, including the National Team Division, will serve under one umbrella that will be led by Chief Operating Officer Mike Unger, a 24-year veteran of USA Swimming’s administration.

The changes are the first major announcement of the administration of Tim Hinchey, who was hired over the summer as president and CEO of USA Swimming after the passing of former Executive Director Chuck Wielgus.

Mintenko, whose maiden name in Lindsay Benko, swam for Team USA at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, winning 3 medals (2 golds, 1 silver) in relays. She was also the World Record holder in the 400 short course meter freestyle for nearly 3 years from 2003 to 2005, having been the first woman under 4 minutes in that race.

SwimSwam has made multiple requests for an interview with Hinchey over the last few months to find out more about how these roles will change under his leadership, but thus far USA Swimming has declined those requests.

The full USA Swimming Press Release is below:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Swimming has named two-time Olympian Lindsay Mintenko as the first female senior executive to lead the organization’s National Team Division amid a restructuring of the organization’s technical swimming staff. She has been a member of the National Team staff since 2006.

“With Lindsay’s 10-plus years of experience at USA Swimming, her role as a two-time Olympic Team captain and time on deck as a coach, she is a tremendous fit for this position,” said USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey. “Lindsay is well respected by our athletes and coaches, and USA Swimming is looking forward to continued competitive success by the National Team under her direction.”

A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Mintenko replaces former National Team Director Frank Busch, who retired effective Oct. 1. She will retain the title of National Team Managing Director.

“I am honored to follow and build on a tremendous legacy set by Frank and his predecessors,” Mintenko said. “We have a great team in place in the National Team Division, and following a strong showing at last summer’s FINA World Championships, we’re already hard at work planning the road to the 2020 Olympic Games.”

In addition to Mintenko’s promotion, USA Swimming will add the position of National Team Technical Advisor to the National Team Division’s leadership team. This role is expected to be filled in the coming weeks.

The organizational restructuring will aggregate all technical swimming facets of USA Swimming, including the National Team Division, under one umbrella overseen by Chief Operating Officer Mike Unger, a 24-year veteran of USA Swimming.

“Mike’s passion is unparalleled within our sport, and his experience with USA Swimming is unmatched,” Hinchey added. “Our organization has thrived in large part to his contributions, and his leadership will be a key part of the National Team’s successes.”

In her new role as National Team Managing Director, Mintenko will oversee all aspects of USA Swimming’s National Team program with the ultimate goal of ensuring that USA Swimming maintains its unprecedented run of international success. Key areas of focus for Mintenko will be athlete and coach development and National Team division support.

With Mintenko playing a role on the USA Swimming National Team staff, Americans swimmers have combined for 95 medals across the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and another 177 podium appearances in the pool in the past five long-course FINA World Championships.

Prior to joining the USA Swimming staff, Mintenko served as an assistant coach at the University of Southern California, her alma mater. She ranks as one of the Trojans’ most decorated swimmers. Mintenko (formerly Lindsay Benko) was a 21-time All-American, claimed five NCAA individual titles – three in the 500-yard freestyle (1996-97-99) and two in the 200-yard backstroke (1996-97) – and helped lead the USC women to their only NCAA team championship in 1997.

On the international stage, Mintenko won gold medals as a U.S. team captain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games in the 800-meter freestyle relay and added a silver in 2004 in the 400-meter freestyle relay. A 10-time U.S. national champion, three-time medalist at the FINA World Championships and a seven-time medalist at the Pan Pacific Championships, she set numerous USC, American and world records in her competitive career and held the short-course world record in the 400m free for nearly three years.

Mintenko graduated from the University of Southern California in 1999 with a B.A. in communications and minor in business and earned her master’s degree is sports administration from California University of Pennsylvania in 2015. She currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Mike, and their two children.

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4 years ago

So, Unger doesn’t get the CEO job, but he oversees all the parts of the organization relevant to sport? What is Hinchey actually doing?

Reply to  SwimTom
4 years ago

Collecting a big salary.

Reply to  taa
4 years ago

or raising the money for all of USA Swimming.

Go Liberal Arts Not STEM
4 years ago

Congrats to Lindsay! Unger (I think it was him) wrote a blog post about how she’d be a great director and how she deserves it even though he wanted the job and how to say otherwise was sexist, but the tone of the entry seemed ironically sexist to me.

Reply to  Go Liberal Arts Not STEM
4 years ago

pretty sure this was Chris Desantis’s blog…doubt Unger is writing a blog about any of that.

Go Liberal Arts Not STEM
Reply to  CalFan
4 years ago

You are correct. It was Desantis. Oops. Anyway it was hard to read.

4 years ago

I wish she’d have done the hyphenated last name instead. Benko-Mintenko would have been so much fun to say.

Reply to  sven
4 years ago

You win the internet today with that one.

Reply to  sven
4 years ago

both Western Ukrainian

Bo swims
Reply to  sven
4 years ago

?? had the same thought when they became a couple.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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