Coach of the Year a Tough Call at Golden Goggles

By John Lohn

BEVERLY HILLS, California, November 2. WHEN the Golden Goggle Awards are held later this month to honor the elite individuals in swimming in the United States, one of the toughest categories to predict a winner appears to be Coach of the Year. Four top-flight nominees exist in Eddie Reese, Bob Bowman, Paul Yetter and Gregg Troy.

The winner of the last two awards, Reese appears to be the favorite to take this year's honor. The head man at the University of Texas, Reese has molded the careers of Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen and Ian Crocker, all world-record holders. The trio combined for five individual gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships and accounted for 75 percent of the title-winning 400 medley relay. This year, Hansen broke three breaststroke world records while Peirsol lowered his own mark in the 200 back. Meanwhile, Reese coached Neil Walker, who contributed to a U.S. world record in the 400 free relay.

Bowman, in charge at the University of Michigan and Club Wolverine, can make his case behind the efforts of Michael Phelps, Peter Vanderkaay, Klete Keller and Erik Vendt, among others. Phelps broke a pair of world records this year, in the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley. The other three men, meanwhile, earned medals at Pan Pacs. Phelps, Vanderkaay and Keller make up 75 percent of the American-record holding 800 free relay.

Yetter and Troy have each taken a swimmer to the top of the swimming world. Yetter guides the career of Katie Hoff at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Hoff set an American record this year in the 200 individual medley and is staring at a multi-medal haul at the 2007 World Champs. As for Troy, he led Ryan Lochte to short-course world records in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and 200 I.M. this year and watched Lochte take silver to Phelps in the 200 I.M. at Pan Pacs.

It's a loaded category for sure.

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