Cal’s Durden, Stanford’s Meehan to coach US Olympic swimmers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — USA Swimming is turning to a pair of veteran collegiate coaches to oversee the Olympic swimming team in 2020.
Dave Durden of California will be in charge of the men’s team and Greg Meehan of Stanford will coach the women’s in Tokyo, USA Swimming announced Monday.
The U.S. swim team won 16 gold medals and 33 total medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the best showing by the Americans in any sport. Bob Bowman coached the men in Rio and David Marsh guided the women.
“We are joining a list of coaching legends. It’s not lost on either one of us,” Meehan said by phone. “It’s the greatest honor of my professional career.”
Durden said, “It allows us to have a lot of responsibility to continue the tradition.”
Durden and Meehan were assistants on the staff in Rio, and both said they have sought advice from Bowman and Marsh in taking on Olympic head coaching duties for the first time.
“It’s listening to the athletes and coaches and USA Swimming staff, the United States Olympic Committee to understand and better help our culture be more and more successful,” Durden said.
The duo coached the U.S. teams at the 2017 world championships in Hungary, where the men and women combined to win 38 medals, the most by one nation at a single world meet.
Durden and Meehan, both 42, have long records of success in the collegiate ranks.
At Cal, Durden works with Olympic champion backstroker Ryan Murphy and veteran sprinter Nathan Adrian. He has guided 24 individual NCAA champions. Besides Murphy and Adrian, the 2016 Olympic team included gold medalists Anthony Ervin and Tom Shields who have Cal ties. Durden is a four-time NCAA coach of the year.
Meehan is five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky’s personal coach. Other Olympic champions he’s guided include sprinter Simone Manuel and now-retired Maya DiRado. He is a three-time NCAA coach of the year and led the Cardinal to national titles in 2017 and ’18.
Durden and Meehan previously coached together at Cal before Meehan took the Stanford job.
A four-person committee unanimously nominated each coach, according to Lindsay Mintenko, managing director of the national team.
“What Greg and Dave bring are different perspectives in what we have currently in USA Swimming,” she said. “They’re going to challenge us.”