Dick’s journey to the Swimming Hall of Fame began when his mother insisted he learn to swim. His first swim teacher and coach was Laurabelle Bookstaver, of the Berkeley Women’s City Club. Under the tutelage of this tough talking woman, Dick fell in love with the sport. He earned a scholarship to the University of Washington where John Tallman turned him into an All-American sprinter and took him on as his assistant. Leaving Washington to continue his studies at Cal, he joined Pete Cutino’s staff as his assistant. Over the years he had studied the methods of George Haines, Sherm Chavoor, Peter Daland and Jim Counsilman and after receiving his Ph. D., accepted the coaching and teaching position at UC Hayward. It was at Hayward where Dr. Robert Morford led him to discover the ancient Greek concept of Agon and Areté - the struggle and the victory.
Jochums believed his athletes had to understand and enthusiastically accept that sport, like life, is a process - a struggle to deal with and overcome the pain, the mental and physical hardships and boredom of preparation before they could achieve victory, or Areté. The process, or Agon, might not always lead to a gold medal, but the self-discipline and mastery of self would bring its own reward. This philosophy of life would become the foundation of his success as a coach.
After Hayward, Jochums took a teaching job at Long Beach State, where Don Gambril had selected him to be his successor at the school and with the Long Beach Swim Club. It was here, in the era of American male swimming dominance, that Dr. Dick Jochums, the former sprinter, would become the USA’s middle distance guru at Long Beach, at the University of Arizona and finally at the Santa Clara Swim Club, before retiring in 2007.
Among his swimmers are two Hall of Famers: Tim Shaw and Bruce Furniss. At one time, Shaw simultaneously held the world record in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle and in 1975 won the coveted James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete. That same year his Long Beach Swim Club team of Rex Favero, Bruce Furniss, Tim Shaw and Steve Furniss set the world record in the 4x 200m freestyle relay. It was the last club team to ever hold a world relay record. In 1976, seven Jochums-coached swimmers represented the USA at the Olympic Games in Montreal, including five, who won medals: Bruce Furniss, Tim Shaw, Dan Harrigan, Steve Gregg and Jack Babashoff. In 1980, Bob Jackson had the fastest backstroke times in the world and Greg Jagenburg was the world champion in the 100m butterfly, but neither got to swim in the Olympics because of the US boycott. In 1984, George Di Carlo won gold in the 400m freestyle and silver in the 1500m freestyle, while breaststroker Peter Evans won double bronze medals swimming for Australia. In 2000, he coached Tom Wilkens to a bronze medal in 200m IM. His teams won eight USA National Long Course Championships and one combined (men’s and women’s) National Title.