#30MostSwimfluential: Dick Shoulberg

Dick Shoulberg
Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

Who is Dick Shoulberg?

  • Served at Germantown Academy since 1969 and has occupied the positions of Director of Aquatics, the Germantown Academy Aquatics Club, and the Aquatics Day Camp, and a physical education teacher at the academy.
  • Led the girls’ swimming program to every Inter-Academic Athletic League meet from 1972 to 2013.
  • Twice named “Coach of The Year” by the American Swimming Coaches Association.
  • Three-time Olympic and five-time Pan Am Games coach
  • Earned the International Swimming Hall of Fame Paragon Award
  • Has guided 16 athletes onto various Olympic teams
  • Has coached 280 All-Americans and countless Junior and Senior National champions and finalists.

How did he influence the swimming community?

In this case, the question is more, how did Shoulberg NOT influence the swimming community? Dick Shoulberg has inspired hundreds over his decades at the Germantown Academy. Not only did he spread his passion and knowledge in Pennsylvania, but he did so on a global scale. Shoulberg presented workshops in over 30 states, 10 European countries, and four Asian nations. He has lectured on every continent that partakes in the Olympic Games.

It’s an honor to be included with so many talented and dedicated people whose common goal is to promote swimming and to share its benefits as a life-long sport. I am deeply touched to see Fran Crippen and Jimmy Ellis among the honorees. The three of us spent many times together at pools in our hometown of Philadelphia and those two men are some of the finest pioneers in the history of 21st century aquatics. What Fran and Jimmy have accomplished will endure through the legacies of the children they mentored and the barriers they broke. I am grateful to have learned from Fran and Jimmy, as well as the other honorees. I’m humbled to be part of this tribute. – Dick Shoulberg

*USA Swimming and Speedo invited the swimming community to help celebrate their 30 years of partnership by voting for the “30 Most Influential People in Swimming Over the Past 30 Years.” Votes were cast through social media with the hashtag #30MostSwimfluential and the final vote came from a panel of 10 judges selected by USA Swimming and Speedo. All 30 nominees have had a powerful impact on the swimming community. Many are recognizable names, but some have remained unsung heroes of the sport. Swimming World will profile each swimfluential person over the course of the week.

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Matt McKernan
7 years ago

The life lessons Coach Shoulberg has taught, and continues to teach my daughters; honesty, integrity, dedication, commitment, respect to name a few will serve them well throughout their lives. Thank you Coach!

Reply to  Matt McKernan

Life lessons indeed!!! What a wonderful tribute to a truly masterful coach and extraordinary human being! While Dick taught me to master the mechanics of swimming, showed me how to train, and enabled me to excel at a swimming, Dick gave me another gift that will last for a lifetime. Dick’s masterful coaching inspired me to become an executive coach. He showed me how to inspire others to be their very best. To this day, some 42 years later, Dick’s passion for assisting others to access their full potential fuels my passion to do the same for others; his steadfast belief in me enables me to believe in others; his acknowledgement of my strengths enables me to focus on what’s good, right and possible in others; and the way he always challenged me to reach higher, dig deeper and play a bigger game is why I’ve dedicated my life to helping business leaders to be their very best. Dick has personally touched hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives in a very profound way. And each of us, in our own way, continue to pay this remarkable gift forward to many others. What an incredible coaching legacy!!! Thank you Dick for being such a powerful presence in our lives. We love you! Deb Weiler, Organizational Psychologist