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Teri McKeever and Carol Capitani: Current Trailblazers for Female NCAA Head Coaches (USA)

The small presence of female head coaches in college swimming is extremely apparent, let alone the lack of representation?in top tier NCAA Division I programs. While searching for these women, Teri McKeever and Carol Capitani are among the few who appear in the otherwise extremely overwhelming amount of male head coaches. Many women have pushed for an increase in female head coaching opportunities throughout college swimming, and in this male-dominated profession, McKeever and Capitani have become current trailblazers. Their success and presence has greatly influenced the college swimming landscape and established them as significant icons for aspiring female coaches.

McKeever has gained national recognition for being one of college swimming?s greatest coaches. She has racked up 61 relay and individual NCAA titles, in addition to her four NCAA and PAC-12 team titles respectively. Her efforts have named her PAC-12 Coach of the Year seven times and have ranked Cal in the top three teams at NCAAs for 10 consecutive years ? the longest period in the nation. Additionally, she has coached 26 of her athletes to the Olympics.

McKeever has not only coached swimmers at University of California-Berkeley to success but has also extended her efforts to many swimmers nationwide. In addition to her 27 years as head coach for UC-Berkely?s women?s team, McKeever has also been appointed to the head coaching positions of Fresno State (1988-1992) and most notably, the 2012 United States Women?s Olympic Team. Her prodigies include but are not limited to Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, Jessica Hardy, Missy Franklin, and Kathleen Baker.

In addition to being one of the few female head coaches of a top tier Division I program, McKeever is the?only?woman to be selected as a head coach of any U.S. Olympic Swim Team. However, Dave Salo ? head coach of University of Southern California ? tells the NY Times that McKeever struggles with her gender defining her career. He recalls, ?She wants to stand against anybody and go, ?Look, I do this well; I do it right; I?m successful at it ? no different than a man.’?

Rather than wanting to be known as ?the first female head coach to?? McKeever wishes to be known for her excellence in coaching successful swimmers. By making strides to increase female head coach opportunities in college swimming, perhaps women like McKeever and their accomplishments can be normalized. After all, it isn?t their gender that makes their careers relevant ? it?s their success.



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