By Reach for the Wall Staff Writers.
Given that a majority of registered USA Swimming athletes are female and swimming offers a unique experience where male and female athletes grow up training together and where females frequently beat males throughout their lives (e.g., Katie Ledecky), one would think that the ratio of male to female coaches in swimming would be more equal than in other sports.
So, it is surprising that a 2015-2016 report released from the Alliance of Women Coaches and Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport gave swimming an ‘F’ because only 15.6% of the head coaches of women’s swim teams at NCAA Division I FBS schools are female. While the report only looked at schools with football teams (which does not cover all colleges that offer swimming) and did not take into account female coaches in Division II, III, NAIA or at the club level, it does offer a snapshot of the number of women in leading coaching positions. In contrast, the report indicates that 92.6% of head coaches of women’s lacrosse teams at NCAA Division I FBS schools are female, 64% in basketball, 58.8% in gymnastics, and 41.9% in tennis.
To help remedy this situation, USA Swimming has launched several initiatives to promote more women in coaching, including posting a series of articles highlighting notable female coaches around the country. The latest article in this ‘Women in Coaching’ series features Dory Halbe, the head coach for the Bronze 1 and 2 groups at NCAP’s Georgetown Prep site and for Tallyho, the newest member of Division A in the MCSL summer league. Check out the article. And congratulations Dory!
USA Swimming also hosts periodic Women’s Leadership Summits (the latest being earlier this month in Black Forest, Colorado) to provide female coaches with a forum to network and improve their skills. (See photo above of PVS coaches who attended this latest summit: (L-R) Tammy McGraw, Amy Dulleman, Shannon McConagha, Jessica Mack, Cherie Adair, Heather Holmes, Dory Halbe). The next summit will take place in September in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
USA Swimming also has produced a new webinar series that features women coaches as they share their experiences in the swimming world. Topics range from overcoming problems encountered, recurring trends on deck and any experiences that can help to improve the future of women coaching.