American Swim Coaches Association Inducts Six Into Hall Of Fame

American Swim Coaches Association Joe Bernal
Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Six men comprise the 2016 class of the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame, including longtime ASCA Executive Director John Leonard. The other five have coached Olympic medalists and made a major impact on American swimming across many generations.

In talking about his induction into the Hall of Fame, Leonard said, “I am not deserving of this honor because I do not meet any of the qualifications. However, I am deeply appreciative to receive this honor.” Leonard has served as ASCA executive director since 1985, with the membership of the organization quadrupling in 20 years. He has been outspoken on many world issues involving coaches and athletes, including transparency from FINA and the World Anti-Doping Agency. He helped expand the ASCA certification program that has certified more than 2,000 coaches in 22 years. Leonard’s time as coach included places on many international staffs, thanks to his work putting swimmers on Olympic and national teams.

American Swim Coaches Association John Leonard

Photo Courtesy:

Peter Banks was the influential force to raising Brooke Bennett to three Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 in the distance freestyle events while coaching at Brandon Blue Wave. It earned Banks the 2000 ASCA Coach of the Year award and a place on the 2000 Olympic team. He also helped Maritza Correia become the first African-American woman on an Olympic swim team, doing so in 2004. Banks now serves as High Performance Director for Swim Ireland, a post he’s held for eight years.

American Swim Coaches Association Peter Banks

Photo Courtesy:

Joe Bernal has been at the forefront of advancing the sport, especially in the mid-1980s when his star swimmer, David Berkoff made the underwater dolphin kick a major component of backstroke swimming. He started Bernal’s Gator Swim Club 45 years ago and still serves as the head coach. During that time, he also served 14 years as head coach at Harvard. Five of his swimmers made U.S. Olympic teams in 1976, 1988 and 1992.

American Swim Coaches Association Joe Bernal

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Steve Bultman, the current head women’s swim coach at Texas A&M University, qualified his first swimmers for the Olympic Games in 1988. That earned him the status of assistant Olympic coach at the Seoul Olympics. He would return to the Games in 2012 as an assistant coach with the success of athletes such as Breeja Larson and Cammile Adams. Before he started his 17-year career at Texas A&M, he coached with Jack Bauerle at the University of Georgia for five years.

Steve Bultman

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Chris Davis is the head coach of SwimAtlanta, the largest USA Swimming club in the country with 2,800 members. In addition to guiding several national champions, he was responsible for putting four swimmers on Olympic teams in 1992, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Davis founded SwimAtlanta in 1977 and has seen his teams place in the top 10 at nationals 20 times.

chris-davis-asca-hall-of-fame

Ray Essick served as executive director of USA Swimming for 21 years, from its inception in 1976 to 1997. He was a big force in beefing up the U.S. national team’s financial compensation, allowing athletes to train past their collegiate careers. His coaching career spanned from high school (at New Trier in Illinois) to college (at Harvard and Southern Illinois). Fred Schmidt made the 1964 Olympics and won a gold medal.

American Swim Coaches Association Ray Essick

Photo Courtesy:

Mark Schubert, already an ASCA Hall of Fame member, received the Peter Daland Award, given to a coach for a lifetime of excellence in the sport. Schubert served on seven consecutive Olympic coaching staffs (including the boycotted 1980 team) and likely coached more Americans to the Olympics than any coach in his time at Mission Viejo and Mission Bay swim clubs, as well as at the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.

American Swim Coaches Association Mark Schubert

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
avatar
Coach
7 years ago

What about age group coach of the year?

avatar
7 years ago

Congratulations to Coach Bernal.

avatar
7 years ago

Congrats to Coach @JoeBernal! Best swim coach and finally recognized as such!!

avatar
7 years ago

Yay Dave Berkoff

avatar
Joe seidel
7 years ago

Congratulations Coach Bernal! Still inspiring swimmers with your energy and passion!!