By James Hemker
“This is the greatest honor of my professional career,” said director of women’s swimming Greg Meehan after it was announced on Monday that he would take the reins as head coach of the 2020 U.S. Olympic women’s swimming team. Berkeley’s men’s head coach Dave Durden, whom Meehan once coached under, was announced as the men’s head coach.
“We’re joining a list of coaching legends, and it’s not lost on either one us,” said Meehan. “I’m looking forward to working with Dave and Team USA and all the coaches and athletes around the country as we prepare for Omaha and the first step toward success in 2020.”
Meehan rose to prominence in the swimming world under Durden as an associate coach in the Golden Bears’ men’s swimming program. Durden and Meehan led the team to consecutive national championships in 2011 and 2012.
Following the 2012 season, Meehan took the helm of the women’s team on the Farm. In just six seasons, he has amassed a list of accolades most coaches can only dream of. The Cardinal secured three Pac-12 championships (2013, 2017, 2018), and the team placed in the top three at the NCAA’s in each of the last five years. Most notably, Meehan and his teams brought the NCAA title back to Stanford in 2017 and 2018.
Always humble, Meehan said, “I’d like to thank my wife, Tess, and my sons, Sal and James. Their love and support continues to inspire me through this journey of coaching. I’d also like to extend an incredible note of gratitude to everyone at Stanford University — our Athletics Director Bernard Muir, our associate head coach Tracy Slusser and the incredible women that have been involved in the Stanford program over the past six and a half years.”
The impact of the three-time NCAA Swimming Coach of the Year can best be represented through those incredible swimmers. Under Meehan’s tutelage, 29 different Stanford women have garnered 232 All-America honors, 16 relay national championships and 23 individual national championships. Meehan also guided four Pac-12 Swimmers of the Year and four Pac-12 Newcomers of the Year.
Four of his swimmers — Lia Neal, Maya DiRado, Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky — have won on the world’s greatest stage. The quartet combined to win two bronze, five silver and 11 gold medals across the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
The top swimmers in the country will be found in Omaha, Nebraska in June 2019 to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The very best will then compete in Tokyo, Japan during the summer of 2020.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.