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Debating with your friends who’s the best Swimming coach?

Bob Bowman, Gregg Troy or Eddie Reese?

Here is our list of the best Swimming coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Swimming Coaches:

  1. Bob Bowman
  2. Gregg Troy
  3. Eddie Reese
  4. Jack Bauerle
  5. Dave Salo
  6. Teri McKeever
  7. Richard Quick
  8. Mark Schubert
  9. Don Talbot
  10. Jon Urbanchek
  11. David Marsh

#1 Bob Bowman

  • πŸ† Achievements: Coached Michael Phelps to 28 Olympic medals, including 23 gold medals
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: North Baltimore Aquatic Club, University of Michigan, USA Olympic Team, Arizona State University
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Bob Bowman is widely recognized as one of the finest swimming coaches in history, largely due to his work with Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. Under Bowman, Phelps achieved unparalleled success, including setting multiple world records.

Bowman’s coaching style is distinguished by his technical expertise and psychological approach, honing not just a swimmer’s physical skills but also their mental discipline and approach to competition.

In addition to his work with Phelps, Bowman has contributed to the broader swimming community through his coaching roles and as an influential figure in U.S. swimming organizations.

#2 Gregg Troy

  • πŸ† Achievements: Head Coach of the 2012 USA Olympic Team, numerous NCAA Championships
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1970s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Florida, Bolles School Sharks
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Gregg Troy is esteemed for his impressive track record, particularly his tenure at the University of Florida, where he has cultivated numerous Olympic and World Championship medalists, alongside multiple NCAA victories.

Troy emphasizes the importance of stamina and strength training in swimming, pushing athletes to excel in the sport’s most demanding events. His coaching philosophy is rooted in hard work, endurance, and a competitive drive.

As the head coach of the 2012 USA Olympic swimming team, he led the squad to a remarkable medal haul, cementing his status as a top-tier coach.

#3 Eddie Reese

  • πŸ† Achievements: Leading the University of Texas to multiple NCAA Championships, 3-time Olympic Head Coach
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1970s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Texas, Auburn University, USA Olympic Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Eddie Reese is a legendary figure within the swimming community, having guided the University of Texas men’s swimming and diving team to a multitude of NCAA Championships over several decades, earning a reputation for consistent excellence.

His coaching is hallmarked by an enduring passion for the sport and a commitment to the personal and athletic development of his swimmers, a combination that has produced numerous Olympic athletes and world record holders.

Reese’s experience and success have also led to his appointment as the head coach for multiple Olympic swimming teams, bringing his wealth of knowledge to the international stage.

#4 Jack Bauerle

  • πŸ† Achievements: Coached multiple Olympic medalists, multiple NCAA team titles with the University of Georgia
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1970s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Georgia
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Jack Bauerle has made a name for himself as a premier coach in the college swimming arena, credited with the University of Georgia’s rise to prominence in the swimming world, capturing numerous NCAA team titles.

Recognized for his skill in developing elite-level female swimmers, Bauerle has played a significant role in the success of Olympians and nurtured talent that dominates both U.S. and international competitions.

Bauerle’s tenure at Georgia not only showcases his illustrious coaching achievements but also reflects his longevity and adaptability in the ever-evolving landscape of competitive swimming.

#5 Dave Salo

  • πŸ† Achievements: Coached multiple Olympic medalists and world champions, renowned for sprint training methods
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Southern California, Irvine Novaquatics, Saddleback El Toro (SET)
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Dave Salo is acclaimed for his innovative approach to swim training, especially in the realms of sprinting and breaststroke. His techniques have revolutionized the way swimmers train for shorter, high-intensity events.

Throughout his career, Salo has worked with a roster of elite athletes, helping them achieve international success and Olympic glory. He is particularly known for his technical expertise and an analytical approach to stroke refinement.

Serving as the head coach for multiple renowned teams, including the University of Southern California, Salo’s impact on swimming extends beyond his own squad to influence training methodologies worldwide.

#6 Teri McKeever

  • πŸ† Achievements: First woman to serve as head coach of a USA Olympic swimming team, multiple NCAA Championships
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1990s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of California, Berkeley
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Teri McKeever has broken new ground in the sport of swimming, being the first woman to head the USA’s Olympic swimming team in 2012. Her pioneering role has opened doors and provided inspiration for female coaches in the sport.

At the University of California, Berkeley, McKeever has led the women’s swim team to achieve incredible success, winning multiple NCAA Championships and developing top-level talent in the pool.

Her coaching philosophy revolves around individualized attention and an innovative training regimen that addresses the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of swimming, which has been instrumental in her athletes’ achievements.

#7 Richard Quick

  • πŸ† Achievements: Coached teams to 13 NCAA Championships, 5-time Olympic Coach
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1970s–2009
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Stanford University, Auburn University, Texas A&M University, USA Olympic Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Richard Quick was one of swimming’s most highly respected coaches, having earned 13 NCAA Championship titles during his career, along with being a prominent coach on the USA Olympic team on five separate occasions.

Quick was renowned for his leadership and his ability to build championship-winning teams, highlighted by his successful tenures at Stanford and Auburn. He developed a multitude of Olympians and NCAA champions through his programs.

The ripple effect of Quick’s influence on competitive swimming is widespread, thanks to his dedication to the sport and his impact as both a mentor and innovator up until his passing in 2009.

#8 Mark Schubert

  • πŸ† Achievements: Winning coach at multiple Olympic and international competitions, NCAA Championships
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1970s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Southern California, University of Texas, USA Olympic Team, Mission Viejo Nadadores
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Mark Schubert is recognized as one of the most accomplished swimming coaches in history, having guided athletes to success at the highest levels, including the Olympics and World Championships.

His coaching career is distinguished by sustained excellence and innovation, highlighted by his work with University of Southern California and the University of Texas, where he claimed multiple NCAA titles.

Schubert’s breadth of experience, including as the USA National Team’s head coach, has left an indelible mark on the sport, emphasizing the development of endurance and technical proficiency.

#9 Don Talbot

  • πŸ† Achievements: Head Coach for multiple Olympic teams, leading Australian swimming success during the 2000 Olympics
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1960s–2000s
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Australia Olympic Team, Canada Olympic Team, Auburn University
  • 🌐 Nationality: Australian

Don Talbot’s coaching acumen was a key factor behind Australia’s rise as a swimming powerhouse, especially during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games where Australian swimmers performed exceptionally well.

His influence extended beyond his native Australia, with roles as a head coach for Canada’s swimming team and a noteworthy tenure at Auburn University. His approach to swimming emphasized toughness, discipline, and a rigorous training regimen.

Talbot’s legacy in swimming is carried on by the numerous coaches and athletes who have benefitted from his demanding yet rewarding coaching style, shaping generations of world-class swimmers.

#10 Jon Urbanchek

  • πŸ† Achievements: Developed numerous Olympic medalists, innovative training techniques
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Michigan, USA Olympic Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: Hungarian-American

Jon Urbanchek is renowned for his contributions to the University of Michigan’s swimming success and his innovative “color-coded” training system which has been widely adopted in the sport.

His tenure at Michigan produced a series of Olympians and NCAA champions, with Urbanchek’s training philosophies credited for enhancing their endurance and speed.

Urbanchek, a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, has left a lasting impact on the sport both through his direct coaching efforts and through the widespread use of his pioneering training methodologies.

#11 David Marsh

  • πŸ† Achievements: NCAA Championship titles, Coach for Team Elite, Head Olympic Coach for the USA Women’s Swimming Team in Rio 2016
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Auburn University, SwimMAC Carolina, Team Elite, USA Olympic Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

David Marsh has an illustrious coaching career highlighted by his leadership at Auburn University, where he led both the men’s and women’s swim teams to NCAA Championships.

He is also the head coach and founder of Team Elite, where he continues to produce top international swimming talent and develop Olympic medalists.

Marsh’s coaching philosophy is recognized for blending scientific techniques with individualized athlete development strategies, a combination that propelled the USA Women’s Swimming Team to earn medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.


Who is the greatest swimming coach of all time?

Bob Bowman is widely considered the greatest swimming coach, notably for mentoring Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time.

Who was the most successful swimming coach?

Bob Bowman is the most successful swimming coach, having guided Michael Phelps to 28 Olympic medals, including 23 golds, across four Olympic Games.

Jane is a social worker and founder and author of thefamilyconscience.com - a parenting and family travel site. She's a swim parent with two children swimming competitively at regional level and is also a swimming official. Both she and her kids regularly take part in triathlons and are members of a triathlon club. The Family Conscience offers advice for motivation and positive mindset for teens and tweens - particularly important when it comes to sport!

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