Stanford’s Greg Meehan and Cal’s David Durden tabbed U.S. swimming head coaches at 2020 Olympics

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SAN FRANCISCO - USA Swimming National Team Managing Director Lindsay Mintenko announced on Monday that California’s David Durden has been named the U.S. men’s swimming head coach and Stanford’s Greg Meehan was named the U.S. women’s swimming head coach for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both are first-time U.S. Olympic Team head coaches but as assistant coaches at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Durden- and Meehan-coached swimmers combined to win 20 medals. The duo mark the eighth and ninth Pac-12 coaches to be named U.S. Olympic Swimming Team head coach since 1924.

It is no wonder why four Pac-12 coaches have been named U.S. team head coaches in the last three Olympic Games, including Tokyo in 2020. In men’s swimming, a Conference team has placed as either champion or runner-up for nine-straight years and own three of the last eight NCAA team titles. Pac-12 schools own nearly a third of all NCAA Division I men’s titles with 24 NCAA team titles, the second most of any conference, and have the most member schools to have won a team national title with five (CAL, ARIZ, STAN, UCLA, USC). Pac-12 men’s swimmers currently hold three world swimming records and four American swimming records, dominating at the Rio Games. In 2016, 25 Olympians and six coaches were Pac-12 affiliated, earning 11 medals (eight gold, one silver and two bronze) and setting two Olympic records and one world record.

Pac-12 women’s swimming also has one of the most impressive legacies in collegiate swimming. A Pac-12 school has finished as the national champion or runner-up for 11 straight-years, owning seven NCAA team titles during that time with Stanford winning back-to-back titles. The Conference has claimed 16 out of a possible 37 national titles and posting 17 runner-up finishes, leading the nation with the most members to have won a NCAA team title with four (ARIZ, CAL, STAN, USC). In Rio, 26 Pac-12 women’s swimmers and two coaches brought home a total of 10 gold medals, four silver and three bronze.

"Through my conversations with Lindsay Mintenko and USA Swimming regarding this appointment, I found myself incredibly humbled in reviewing the list of coaching legends that have held this position," Durden said in USA Swimming’s release on Monday. "I am grateful to the swimmers I have worked with, the coaches I have stood shoulder to shoulder with, the Cal Aquatic community that has supported me, and to our Athletic Director Jim Knowlton and his leadership to help me be in this position.”

Durden, who is in his 12th season at the helm of the Golden Bears men’s swimming and diving team, becomes the eighth Cal coach to be selected as Olympic head coach for the United States. He previously served as an assistant for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics and has coached athletes at the last four Olympic games. Durden has an undeniable impact on the success of the men’s team, as six Cal swimmers combined to earn 11 Olympic medals in Rio, including eight golds. He was named coach of the year by the American Swim Coaches Association in 2016.

On the collegiate front, Durden in a four-time NCAA Coach of the Year and seven-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. In 11 years as head coach for the Golden Bears, Cal swimmers have won 37 NCAA titles and 85 Pac-12 titles. The Bears have finished in the top two as a team at NCAA’s in each of the last nine season and have won three national team titles during that time.

“There is no greater honor than representing your country on the world stage, and I am tremendously thankful to have been appointed Olympic women’s head coach,” Meehan said in USA Swimming’s release. “As we move into the second half of the Olympic Quad, I am excited about what is ahead and what needs to get done in the coming months on the road to Omaha, and then on to Tokyo.”

Meehan has coached Stanford’s women’s swimming and diving team for six season and is the second Stanford coach to serve as U.S. Olympic head coach. Similar to Durden, he served as an assistant at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where he coached three Cardinal - Lia Neal, Simone Manuel and Maya DiRado, who combined to win nine medals and four gold - and future Stanford standout Katie Ledecky, who won four gold medals, one silver and set two world records.

Meehan was mentored by his fellow Olympic coach Durden as Meehan served as an assistant and associate head coach under Durden for four years at Cal prior to taking the job at Stanford in 2012. At the Farm, Meehan is a three-time NCAA Swimming Coach of the Year and led Stanford to back-to-back national championships in 2017 and 2018. He has won three Pac-12 Championships and mentored four Pac-12 Swimmers of the Year, four Pac-12 Newcomers of the Year and has claimed four Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards.

At the Rio Olympics, the Conference produced a total of 55 medals. If the Conference were a country, it would have ranked fifth in the overall medal count behind Team USA (121), China (70), Great Britain (67) and Russia (56). Nearly 300 Pac-12-affiliated athletes, coaches and delegates (including alternates) were selected to participate at the Rio Olympic Games, representing 47 countries and competing in 23 sports.

PAC-12 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM HEAD COACHES (1924 - PRESENT)

COACH PAC-12 TEAM (SEASONS) U.S. OLYMPIC HEAD COACH
George Haines UCLA M (5) // STAN W (7) 1960 Women’s; 1968, 1980 Men’s
Peter Daland USC M (34) 1964 Women’s; 1972 Men’s
Mark Schubert USC M (13) 1992, 2004 Women’s; 2000 Men’s
Skip Kenney STAN M (33) 1996 Men’s
Richard Quick STAN W (17) 1998 Head Coach; 116, 2000 Women’s
Teri McKeever CAL W (27, Present) 2012 Women’s
Bob Bowman ASU M (4, Present) 2016 Men’s 
Greg Meehan STAN W (7, Present) 2020 Women’s
David Durden CAL M (12, Present) 2020 Men’s
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