Chuck Batchelor Taking Over as Head Coach at SwimMAC Carolina

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Chuck Batchelor -- Photo Courtesy: Singapore Swimming Federation

Chuck Batchelor Taking Over as Head Coach at SwimMAC Carolina

Chuck Batchelor, the longtime head coach at Bluefish Swim Club in Attelboro, Mass., has agreed to move to North Carolina to take over as head coach of SwimMAC Carolina in Charlotte. Batchelor takes over a program that has seen a lot of transition in the past year with hopes of providing stability and leadership for one of the country’s top clubs.

Batchelor is best known for coaching U.S. Olympian Elizabeth Beisel when she qualifed for her first senior national team at age 13 and her first Olympic team at age 15 and for the entirety of her age group career before she departed for the University of Florida, and Batchelor continued to play a role in Beisel’s training until the end of her career. Batchelor also coached U.S. national champion breaststroker Laura Sogar at Bluefish, and he continued to guide strong high school-aged swimmers in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts through this past season. Batchelor and his wife, Christie, own and manage the Bluefish Swim Club.

“Bluefish, it’s more than just a job or a team. Sixteen years, and I think it was time. Really excited about a new adventure. It kind of frees Christie up to pursue some other things that she’s interested in, whereas at Bluefish, that would have been harder to do.” Batchelor said.

“Then, why SwimMAC? I think that’s actually pretty obvious. It’s a pretty incredible program. Kathy McKee and Russ Kasl are two of the finest coaches and people on the planet. It’s clear to me that the success of that program, it’s certainly a combination of a lot of things, but those two people being there for such a long time and just constantly doing a great job with athletes and putting great systems in place. There’s so much good there, so I’m really excited. It’s an honor to try to add something that’s already really awesome.”

Batchelor will be returning to the Tar Heel state after he attended and swam for the University of North Carolina in the 1990s.

SwimMAC has gone through a year of major transition. Following previous head coach Terry Fritch’s departure, Eric Lane was interim head coach last fall before Megan Oesting began in the head coaching role on Nov. 1, 2020. But Oesting left the club on July 1, 2021, because of “differing management and cultural styles,” and Kathy McKee and Russ Kasl became the interim head coaches.

SwimMAC produced five U.S. Olympic swimmers in 2016 when David Marsh coached a group of professionals under the club’s banner, and in the years since, the club has still produced elite teenage swimmers regularly. At the Speedo Summer Championships in Greensboro just last week, SwimMAC relays broke a pair of National Age Group records.

Regarding the future of Bluefish Swim Club, off a year that Batchelor considers “absolutely wonderful” and “one of the best years we’ve ever had,” he said he expects the club to “row and evolve but basically that the fundamental philosophies are kept intact. We have a couple of good options of people that we’re talking to. There’s going to be good people involved that are like-minded. We’re not super motivated to make a killing off a sale of it. We’re not going to turn around and sell to the highest bidder or anything like that. It’s going to be taken care of, and we’ll be excited to watch.”

At SwimMAC, Batchelor will no longer have full autonomy over the club with a parent board of directors and a leadership team including McKee, Kasl and executive director Brandi Jones in the mix, but Batchelor is excited to manage the operations with a group with the club’s and the swimmers’ best interests at heart.

“They care about the success of the program and the swimmers more than anybody,” he said. “I felt like, how is that a bad thing? I’m sure, at times, there might be a difference of opinion on how to get to the end, but if we’re both trying to get to the same end, I can work with that.”