David Marsh Named 2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Swim Team Head Coach

Jul 13, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Swimming coach David Marsh talks with Ryan Lochte during the Sunday finals of the Bulldog Grand Slam at Gabrielsen Natatorium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

David Marsh has been putting swimmers on Olympic teams dating back to 1992, and that long-term dedication to shaping America’s best swimmers was recognized today when Marsh was picked by USA Swimming as the head women’s coach for next year’s Olympics.

“When I absorbed this and put this into emotions, all I could do was the gratitude thing,” Marsh said at the USA Swimming press conference. “I feel so incredibly grateful to so many people. I’d like to thank the swimmers I’ve coached in the past 34 years. They all had an impact on this.”

This will be Marsh’s first time as head Olympic coach. He had served as assistant coach in 1996, 2000 and 2012. The first two stints came during his heyday as head coach for the Auburn men’s and women’s programs, where his Tigers collected a staggering 12 NCAA team titles. In 2012, he was the men’s assistant coach, where his personal swimmer Cullen Jones earned Olympic medals.

Though this is his first gig as head Olympic coach, Marsh has plenty of experience leading international racing teams for USA Swimming. His first head coach job was in 1995 for the Pan Pacific championships, where he was the men’s head coach. In 2003, he was head coach at the world championships. In 2003, 2005 and 2011, he served as head coach for the prestigious Duel In the Pool meets.

His first experience on an international coaching squad was the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba as men’s assistant coach. Most recently, he was the men’s assistant coach at last month’s world championships.

For the past eight years, Marsh has been the guiding force to the resurrection of SwimMAC Carolina, where he rejuvenated the age-group program and brought some of swimming’s best talents to Charlotte with the Team Elite program. Ryan Lochte, Cullen Jones, Micah Lawrence and Tyler Clary are among the American Olympians he currently trains there.

Before his time at Auburn and SwimMAC, Marsh was most known for building up the program at Las Vegas Gold, where he worked with such talents as Mel Stewart. He had also been assistant coach at Auburn in the early 1980s, where he helped Rowdy Gaines train toward fame at the 1984 Olympics.

“When I think of coaches, my mind goes instantly to Richard Quick. When I think of stepping into the role he had (as head Olympic coach in 1988, 1996 and 2000), it’s an incredible honor. The Olympic Games is the greatest event that I’ve been a part of. It brings the best of the best together, and it brings out some incredible stories and some incredible performances and some incredible pressure. Right now, I think with the make-up of the potential team is incredible. One of the things that is going to be critical is that fall matters. You have to get off the couch and get into the pool.

“I’d like to dedicate this to my mom. She doesn’t remember things as well as she used. She always believed in me, … and I would like to honor her with this, and I hope make her proud.”


  1. Scott Richardson

    Its about time! Now can we just bring him back home already WDE!

  2. avatar
    Lou Corcoran

    Well deserved David. You’re one of the most innovative coaches in sports !

  3. avatar
    Charles Canady / CAD

    I remember your Dynamo days and how you told Me. Bashir about the USAS Coaches College back in the 80′ . You were at the Eastern States Coaches Clinic in 05 or 06 and I was impressed that everything Melissa Wilborn told me about you was true, and months later Caesar went 18.74 . You are the man who made me work at the craft of teaching correct swimming for each individual’s needs. Never leave this sport.