NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, September 6. BRUCE Gemmell was awarded the American Swim Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year award tonight, marking the first time since 2002 that the honor did not go to someone named Bowman, Reese or Troy.
Gemmell was picked for this year’s award by the ASCA board of directors for helping guide Katie Ledecky to four gold medals at this summer’s world championships, two of which were won in world record time. Her 8:13.86 in the 800 free and 15:36.53 in the 1500 freestyle will easily be regarded as two of the top swimming performances of 2013.
In accepting the award, Gemmell said it was “humbling compared to the coaches of previous years.” Those names already on the Coach of the Year list include Bob Bowman (2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012), Eddie Reese (1991, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009) and Gregg Troy (2010, 2011). Teri McKeever remains the only female to win Coach of the Year, taking the honor in 2002.
The field of finalists only included four names this year, each of whom coached an American to a world championship gold medal. Including Gemmell, the others were:
Rick DeMont (Matt Grevers, 100 back gold)
Todd Schmitz (Missy Franklin, six gold medals)
Troy (Ryan Lochte, three gold medals)
Gemmell spent most of his acceptance speech giving credit to his current staff of assistant coaches at Nation’s Capital Swim Club, including Pete Morgan, John Flanagan, Jeff King and Tim Kelly.
The Coach of the Year award is “given annually to the individual whose coaching effectiveness has contributed the most towards American swimming excellence at the world level,” according to ASCA. James “Doc” Counsilman was the first recipient of the award, back in 1961.