#30MostSwimfluential: Eddie Reese

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Who is Eddie Reese?

  • Swam collegiately for the University of Florida where he won three consecutive SEC championships (1961, 1962, 1963) and became the first Florida swimmer to win five SEC titles in a single season.
  • Head coach of Auburn University (1972-1978) leading the Tigers to four consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA championships.
  • Head coach of the University of Texas for 37 seasons (1979-present) leading the Longhorns to 11 NCAA team titles, 11 NCAA team second place finishes, 36 consecutive top-10 NCAA finishes, 54 NCAA individual champions and 41 NCAA relay champions.
  • Only college swimming coach to win NCAA team titles in four different decades.
  • Three-time head Olympic men’s coach (1992, 2004, 2008).
  • Coached 29 Olympians who won 63 Olympic medals (39 gold, 16 silver, and eight bronze).
  • Inducted to the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” in 1988, Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1996, Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, and International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honor Coach” in 2002.

How did he influence the swimming community?

Eddie Reese’s first NCAA team title came in 1981 with the Texas Longhorns and he hasn’t looked back since. He has reached the zenith of coaching. He would say he is still searching for that summit, which is why he is in a league of his own and the model for all coaches. His continued determination to learn about the sport he loves and willingness to make the necessary changes is the reason why elite athletes want to learn from him and why the U.S. wants him to lead their best athletes.

Words from the swimfluential Eddie Reese:

“I’ve always remained consistent that every athlete equals 1, and every staff equals 1, so if I’m doing my job right, they know that they matter and count and that I will do whatever I need to help them reach their highest potential.”

*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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