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Swim Team USA Coaching Appointments – Where are all the women coaches? (USA)

Following USA Swimming’s announcement last week that Cal’s Dave Durden and Stanford’s Greg Meehanwould serve as the 2020 US Olympic Team head coaches, continuing the States’ trend of rarely placing a woman in either role, the question naturally arose: should a woman have been appointed, and who might be the next woman in line to land the prestigious gig?

Of the 12 coaches who met qualifying criteria to be named the Olympic head coach for 2020, two are female: Texas’ Carol Capitani and Cal’s Teri McKeever. Among other more administrative and interpersonal criteria, to qualify for the head Olympic job, an individual needed to have served as head coach at one of the following meets: 2014 Pan Pacs, 2015 Worlds, 2015 World University Games, 2015 Pan American Games, 2016 Olympic Games, 2017 World Championships, 2017 World University Games, or 2018 Pan Pacs.

Anyone not selected as head coach remains eligible to be appointed as an assistant, likely pending the outcome of the 2020 Olympic Trials.

In conjunction with USA Swimming naming an all-male staff for the 2017 FINA World Championships, the assertions of inequality are understandable; but this feels likes a top-of-the-ladder symptom of a system-wide problem. This imbalance, as explained by Capitani, is created by a lack of “backfill in the pipeline.”

Capitani lamented the intricacy of the situation when SwimSwam spoke with her in 2017.

“I wish I had a great answer – it’s complicated and it’s messy,” she said. “There aren’t as many female coaches there, so you can’t put all of us in roles over people that have maybe put more people on a team. But I think it’s equivocally even – I didn’t put anybody on an Olympic team [in 2016] so I wasn’t upset that I wasn’t a coach.”

“I do think there is a systemic inequality – I wish I was smart enough to fix it,” she continued. “I do think there’s inequality, but there’s not enough backfill in the pipeline at this moment, I don’t think, or maybe the opportunities are less.”

Essentially, the inequality begins early-on in swim coaching but most obviously manifests in high-level appointments. The bottle-neck begins well before ‘US Olympic Team head coach,’ arguably the most prestigious swimming appointment in the world, and instead needs to be attacked much earlier in the hiring tree. Specifically, our research shows that there’s a growing number of top-25 NCAA Division I ‘associate head coaches’ that are women, but that these roles aren’t translating into head coaching jobs that lend themselves more obviously to international appointments.

 

READ FULL STROY – swimswam.org


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