View Full Version : your favorite swim coach of all time and why.

Peter Cruise
July 20th, 2005, 03:47 PM
So, coaches are getting some bad press in a couple of other threads, so I thought it might be interesting to talk about who has really impressed us as a coach (masters or open) and what it was about that coach that was so good. Ok, I'll go first.
A fellow named Archie Mckinnon was my first coach in age group, when I was 7-9yrs old & was flat out the best communicator I have ever seen. He let us know why we were doing what we were doing, what we were going to do & consulted us frequently as to what we wanted to get from our swimming (us individually, not the parents). Sounds out of a modern textbook, right? This was 1959-62 I've never had a coach since who came close to him, which had a great deal to do with me leaving swimming when I was fourteen.

July 20th, 2005, 03:52 PM
Archie a good guy a good coach. I think he coached a friend of mine from the past Peter Salmon. I met him several times.

July 20th, 2005, 05:22 PM
Favorites--Rob Orr and Pete Orscheidt (a tie). Both were great motivators and really cared about all of the swimmers on the team. Rob is still coaching (Princeton); don't know about Pete.

Least favorite--Pete Payne (football coach turned swim coach at Memorial High School in Houston back in the 70s (he was actually the head coach for the entire Spring Branch school district--six schools, boys and girls).

July 21st, 2005, 09:48 AM
John DeBarbadillo and Bill Schmidt - York PA YMCA

They made a great team. John was a great teaching innovator and was involved in national YMCA aquatics for decades; was even coaching a YWCA team into his 90's. Most of the team members taught beginning swimming; we had an extensive summer program where we went to the far reaches of the county and taught swimming at the public outdoor pools. Some of his teaching philosophy has helped shape my own teaching style, both in the early days as a swimming instructor and now as a community college computer instructor

Bill was a great flyer and competitor of Councilman. Our program was tuned into Doc's research, etc. from the beginning, which allowed us to dominate the state for a number of years until everyone else figured out what we were doing. He worked us hard and smart without hardly raising his voice.

Both were soft-spoken gentlemen who insisted that we act the same at all times.

July 22nd, 2005, 02:00 AM
I have had many coaches in my years of swimming. He threw chairs at us and he yelled when the "kiddies" were acting up, ah the good ole' days. A big strong man of a man who's idea of fun was giving us 100 x 100 after warm-up and before our warm-down. The team was pretty successful and the cream rose to the top. Back in the day, these coaches earned respect and got it the smart way! By working us HARD!!

There's nothing I would enjoy more than stating his name, but in his old(er) age, he might have learned about computers by now and is reading this. Scary thought, I'm not in shape enough to take his wrath.

July 22nd, 2005, 02:14 AM
Originally posted by gull80
Favorites--Rob Orr and Pete Orscheidt (a tie). Both were great motivators and really cared about all of the swimmers on the team. Rob is still coaching (Princeton); don't know about Pete.

Least favorite--Pete Payne (football coach turned swim coach at Memorial High School in Houston back in the 70s (he was actually the head coach for the entire Spring Branch school district--six schools, boys and girls).

Rob Orr's son is my swim coach now for a summer team at our local swim club where we live outside of Princeton. He is an awesome coach...and when i saw his father's name, i laughed. Tonight one of the kids at the 2nd practice mentioned how his father coached, and asked if he learned from his Dad. lol and now seeing this. So, i guess it runs in the family. But, back to his son. haha He knows how to work one on one when you need help. I was watching him when we were practicing, (ive been going to 2 practices a day) but if you need help, he'll bend over backwards to try to help you learn something, and get it done right!! I'll tell you right now i wont ever forget him, because this year i think ive gotten my backstroke the best its ever been. Even though he makes fun of me and how i reach my arms all the way back in a bent position. lol oh well. I'll have to write him a thank you note since I am moving and thank him for all the help with swimming, etc. etc.

sooo yeah. haaa! what a small world

July 23rd, 2005, 01:11 AM
Bruce Watson -West Valley College

He cared about the athlete in us, as well as the scholar and person. It seemed that his favorite part of practise was the 'Word Of The Day'; where he'd give us a word like magnanimous and make sure we understood what it meant.

Of course, he worked us hard; tailoring our workouts to each person. I'd be off doing sets of 200s and 500s while everyone was doing the sprints. But my personal favorite set was 40 x25 fly on the :40. :)

July 31st, 2005, 09:46 PM
My favorite of all time is David Radcliff. He was my age group coach as well as my HS swim and water polo coach. He was, first and foremost, passionate about aquatics and that passion was contagious. Secondly, he had the ability to make swimmers/players of all levels feel welcome and confident in their own ability to progress individually and contribute to a team effort. While he last coached me over 30 yrs ago, the life lessons he taught through athletics still live on as I pass them along to my own kids (who, coincidentally are at the same age that I was when I first started working with "Coach"). All of my teammates and I were lucky to have had him as a coach and role model.

August 3rd, 2005, 11:28 AM
My high school coach...Richard Quick. He was a complete inspiration to me. Even with 50 guys in the pool, it felt like he was coaching YOU individually. I was one of the top influences in my life.

Peter Cruise
August 3rd, 2005, 01:36 PM
Patrick- I went to the Stanford Masters Camp once in the early 90's and I was totally blown away by his total involvement with with our aging & sagging selves. He didn't just 'star' in the camp, he rolled up his sleeves, got to know our names & treated us like we were his scholarship swimmers. What an inspiration!

August 3rd, 2005, 02:52 PM
Yessireee. That sounds like Richard. I have spoken to him in the last month or so. He is retiring from Stanford at the end of the summer and moving to Austin, Tx to kick back and enjoy his grandchildren. He and i plan to hook up again and talk about old times. (30+ years ago). thanks for the reply on that Peter.

August 25th, 2005, 08:22 PM
I firmly believe that Mike Lewellyn is one of the best coaches in the country. After swimming up through college-age, last year I returned to USA Swimming (not even USMS) and began swimming with the KC Blazers. They were a team I hated and feared as a child from all the horror stories I heard of outrageous practices and tough coaches. Since I swam short-course with them this past year, I have realized that Pete Malone and Mike Lewellyn aren't quite the assholes my buddies made them out to be. As a matter of fact, if I could go back to the first time I ever switched teams (right about the time I began to qualify for what was then Regions and Junior Nationals) I would have gone to the Blazers. I hope Mike realizes how he helped me grow as a swimmer even at the age I am now.

August 26th, 2005, 12:10 AM
Well, my favorite coach was Mrs Vanderpool. She taught me a good glide on my breaststroke kick. I image that I might have quit swimming sooner since I wasn't much of a freestyler as a kid and my butterfly had not developed yet. I was 12 years old,and Mrs Vanderpool entered you at slowed times as a kid at your first meet so you good win a hear ribbon as a kid in the novice meets.

August 26th, 2005, 09:24 AM
E. Kane Waggoner....my High School coach in Southern California. He was one of those coaches that just about everybody liked, firm yet fair, always made you feel like you really mattered to the team!!

August 26th, 2005, 08:35 PM
Gregg Troy FMSA in Ft. Myers then Bolles in Jacksonville and now UF in Gaineville FL.- I swam with him from 1970-1982(FMSA and followed him to Bolles)- I didn't follow him to UF I became a Hurricane at UM before he went to UF.
I almost went to UF because of Richard Quick.

I learned alot from Gregg that I still draw from today. Gregg was a great coach and mentor.

July 16th, 2007, 12:05 AM
E. Kane Waggoner....my High School coach in Southern California. He was one of those coaches that just about everybody liked, firm yet fair, always made you feel like you really mattered to the team!!

E. Kane Waggoner was one of the formative figures in my life. He was tough, yes, but fair, and encouraged those who were willing to listen. He created a very good team out of some very average swimmers, and taught us to expect to win. When I graduated from high school, with two All American badges, he wrote in my annual, "life is about dealing with dissapointments. . . ." I asked him what he meant and he told me, "You could have been better." I took that as a compliment.

As I approach 60 years of age I know so many people who look back at Kane Waggoner as a teacher and a mentor, and none of us call him "Kane." He is Coach.

God Bless you, Coach.


Speedo Racer
August 5th, 2007, 02:45 PM
Ya, Richard Quick. Coolest coach ever. Also made the best freestyle video I've seen, in my humble opinion. He also has the coolest name. The guy just rocks big time!

p.s. best masters coach is Kerry O'Brien of Walnut Creek Masters. Hands down. Yay Kerry!

August 5th, 2007, 03:04 PM
My favorite coach would have to be my old age group coach Bob Burns at the Woodbridge Aquatic Club, but he has long since moved on to Choate Academy.

Old Navy
August 6th, 2007, 05:54 PM
Dick Porter, my high school coach at Redan High School from 1977-1980. He got the best out of his swimmers and was able to keep it real at the same time. In my senior year he let me get a little involved in the coaching end of the business, looking at woirkouts and setting meet lineups. He is probably the reason I'm coaching age group swimmers 27 years later. He did a lot to make swimming a life long passion for me. :applaud::applaud:

August 13th, 2007, 06:04 PM
For me, a tie between my best club coach Don Laster (now coaching down in the San Clemente, CA area, and my college coach, Nort Thornton. :bow: I had great success with each, though they were very different in their approaches...

August 17th, 2007, 05:09 PM
I don't know if he was my favorite but A. fish. He retired my senoir year in high school.

September 14th, 2007, 08:12 PM
I really liked Debbie Meyer, she coached me as an age-group swimmer. She primarily coached younger age-group swimmers at the time so I didn't have a chance to continue with her through H.S. She was hoarse all the time from yelling off times during workouts...but the constant feedback really helped, I dropped massive amounts of time.

September 15th, 2007, 05:32 PM
I have got to admit that my new coach really rates! Rick Benner has been working with me for about 4 weeks now and he has really managed to fix alot of the problems I have had in my strokes. He is helping me to learn how to sprint again, while still being able to handle my distance races to.

This past week was alot of hard workouts yet even though I was tired todays swims were equal to my best times. This was an intersquad meet so there was no pressure at all. Just have fun and have solid swims. I can't wait till Nationals!

September 15th, 2007, 07:06 PM
I'm going to say assistant coach Kate of my master's team, for two reasons:
1) It is a running joke to use massive amounts of flattery about how she is our favorite coach :bow: , in the hope of making practice easier
2) She has a strong, dry sense of humor, which she uses to crush us in practice :drown:

November 6th, 2007, 10:44 AM
Mike Bottom becasue he is an inovator in sprint training who has produced many great sprinters including Gary Hall Jr. :agree:

November 6th, 2007, 07:50 PM
This is a tough one because there are so many things that can be learned, and everyone offers a different point of view... Here are the top 5 anyways...

1. Deryk Snelling - His ability to inspire you and make the most out of yourself. He was an incredible motivator, and could stir the passion during training and racing...

2. Gary Vandermeulen - His sprint program provided confidence through methods, and he also knew how to motivate at crucial moments.

3. Monica Schlodder - Her independent focus in the face of adversity was second to none, and her educated intellect was unwavering. She was a great proponent of finding your natural strength(s).

4. Ken Olsen - His grasp of technique rivals the greats, and his video analysis business is thriving, for good reason(s).

5. Jaime Conners - He has patience and a stable understanding of sprint training, and an uncanny ability to implement.

November 7th, 2007, 01:47 PM
Jack Nelson continues to be one of the greatest influences for me. One inspirational sentence from him was worth a thousand words from another coach. I still quote him to my kids. A guy who overcame tremendous odds as a young person and proved his trademark phrase, "Access to Success is Through the Mind."

November 10th, 2007, 03:33 PM
Coach Sean FWJ Fowler :applaud:
To understand why, just check out the 'coaching' part of this forum (famous 'how to increase my stroke rate' thread).
He spent hours coaching for a 38 y/o person with no swimming career that he did not see before living in another continent. Increased his swimming abilities, gave swimming programs, tips, drills, morale, whatever a coach can give. From the inspiration I had from him, I started a swimming Internet site. I have 88 forum members in my site. I have the courage to swim among the talented masters swimmers. I also had some medals this year. What did he get? Just a 'thank you'.
Not just a great coch, but a great personality!!!

June 20th, 2008, 11:39 AM
Dave Back, who is my coach right now. This is because he always says encouraging thigs to me, always inspires me to be the best I can possibly be (he gave a huge speech onece to the team about potential) and gives me really helpful tips about improving my stoke.

June 20th, 2008, 01:45 PM
So many great names mentioned here...

My main coach was Doug Russell...a love/hate relationship there. Excellent coach, though.