USA Swimming has turned to the Bay Area to lead its efforts at the Tokyo Games: Cal’s Dave Durden and Stanford’s Greg Meehan were named Monday as the men’s and women’s coaches for the 2020 Olympics.
The men, both 42, worked together at Cal before Meehan took over the Stanford women’s team in 2012.
They follow other elite Bay Area coaches who have led Olympic teams, including Berkeley’s Terri McKeever and Stanford’s Skip Kenney and Richard Quick.
“We’re joining a list of coaching legends and it’s not lost on either one us,” Meehan said in a teleconference call Monday. “It was a moment that sort of allowed for some self-reflection and appreciate this great honor of my professional career.”
Meehan is a three-time NCAA coach of the year and has led the Cardinal to national titles in 2017 and 2018. He is Olympic champion Katie Ledecky’s personal coach and also has developed Stanford Olympians Simone Manuel, Maya DiRado and Lia Neal.
Both men were assistants in 2016 when U.S. swimmers dominated the Rio Games by winning 13 gold medals.
The American Swim Coaches Association named Durden coach of the year in 2016 after Golden Bears swimmers combined to win 11 Olympic medals, including three gold medallions by Berkeley backstroker Ryan Murphy. He and Olympic medalists Nathan Adrian, Josh Prenot and Tom Shields continue to train with Durden in Cal’s postgraduate program.
Durden also is a four-time NCAA Coach of the Year and seven-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
Durden and Meehan will spend the next 18 months developing a plan to help continue the American stranglehold on Olympic swimming.
“There’s a lot of responsibility to continue that tradition of excellence,” Durden said. “I think it’s a pressure — if you want to use that word — that we share among the great coaching community in the U.S.”
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports