#30MostSwimfluential: John Leonard

Who is John Leonard?

  • Began coaching career in Syracuse, NY developing national finalists and a ’76 Olympian
  • Developed a powerful club team, Lake Forest Swim Club, in Illinois in 1978
  • Executive Director of American Swimming Coaches Association since 1985,
  • Founded World Swimming Coaches Association in 1988
  • Executive Director of WSCA, (1988-1994, 2004-)
  • Received USA Athletes Appreciation Award in 1996 for his anti-doping actions
  • Two-time Paragon Award recipient from International Swimming Hall of Fame (2004-Learn to Swim, 2010-Competitive Swimming)
  • Serves on Olympic International Operations and International Relations Committee
  • Member of FINA International Coaches Commission
  • Was a FINA consultant on coaching education
  • Served on 14 USA National Team staffs and six Team USA Olympic Games staffs
  • Was Chairmain of United States Swimming Steering Committee for USA Olympic Team
  • Has authored over 1,000 articles on swimming, in addition to four books

How did he influence the swimming community?

John Leonard has overseen education programs and services to dozens of coaching schools and the development of ASCA’s Certification program (that has certified over 9,400 coaches in 22 years). Leonard organized a model national learn-to-swim school (SwimAmerica), which has taught over 1.5 million youths to swim, and turned the American Swimming Coaches Association into a leading force in the sport of swimming. Leonard fought in the 1980s to introduce the Code of Ethics for swimming coaches in the ASCA, lead the fight against doping in the sport, and has served on multiple international swimming organizations over the years. His contributions to the world of swimming are numerous and extensive, reaching from coaching to technical suit rules to doping, and he continues to strive to better the sport today.

Words from the swimfluential John Leonard:

When anyone looks at this amazing list of individuals, it’s both humbling and thrilling to be mentioned in the same sentence or breath with these people. Many of them are ‘my heroes’ and to be mentioned with them is a real delight. Luckily for the USA, there are another 30 wonderful names and resumes that are equally worthy. Such is the depth of leadership in the greatest swimming nation on earth.

*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.

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Peter Bick

    Congrats John, well deserved!

  2. avatar

    Congrats to you John i wish to you all the best and wonderful life

Author: Kelly Lennon

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Kelly Lennon is a distance swimming, burrito eating, English major and Psychology/Nutrition minor attending the University of Vermont. Before Vermont, she competed for the Andover North Andover YMCA Hurricanes and Methuen High School.

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